Zoo in Lahore auctions off lions to private collectors

Zoo in Lahore auctions off lions to private collectors

A zoo in Lahore is auctioning off about a dozen lions to private collectors. This will be done to free up space for pride that keeps growing.

According to Lahore Safari zoo’s deputy director, Tanvir Ahmed Janjua, the zoo has so many big cats that the lions and tigers have to take turns in the paddock. He also revealed that the auction would not only help them free up space but also decrease the expenses to feed them.

The zoo has 29 lions currently. It is planning to sell about 12 of them in the auction held on 11th August. The lions are aged between two to five years old. Other than lions, there are also two jaguars and six resident tigers.

The zoo officials have fixed a reserve of 150,000 PKR per cat. However, they expect to make much more than that.

The officials also said that the buyers will have to register themselves with the provincial authorities. This would be an assurance that they have enough to provide care and shelter for the animals.

Conservationists’ point of view

On the other hand, conservationists along with environmental group WWF are against the sale. They believe that the animals should be moved to other better zoos and breeding females should be given contraceptives.

The organization’s Uzma Khan, while talking to the AFP, emphasized the significance of animal exchanges. She said that donations between zoos are a widely ‘accepted’ practice. Moreover, once a price tag is placed on the wildlife species, it promotes trade, ‘which is counterproductive to conservation,’ she added.

Keeping lions and tigers as pets in Pakistan

Keeping lions and tigers as pets is seen as a status symbol in Pakistan. Wealthy owners promote their cats on social media and rent them out as props for photoshoots.

Nouman Hassan, who came on the radar of the authorities after he was filmed walking his pet tiger on a leash, also plans to take part in the auction. He believes that auction is a good way to diversify the gene pool for private collectors.

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