Classics: Once, twice, awarded? ... Pakistan lions offered at auction

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Nouman Hassan joue avec son tigre du Bengale dans sa ferme à Lahore (Pakistan), le 4 août 2022 © Arif Ali Nouman Hassan plays with his Bengal Tiger on his farm in Lahore (Pakistan), August 4, 2022 x Lahore, in Pakistan, will sell at auction twelve of her twenty-nine lions next week, in order to make room for the troop which continues to grow. The felines are now so numerous at the Zoo Safari de Lahore (northeast) that the lions and tigers can only join their enclosure, explains to AFP the deputy director of the zoo, Tanvir Ahmed Janjua.

De jeunes lions dans leur enclos du zoo de Lahore, au Pakistan, le 3 août 2022 © Arif Ali of young lions in their enclosure of the Lahore zoo, in Pakistan, on August 3, 2022 thanks to the sale, "we will not only free up space, but also reduce our meat expenses intended to feed, "he hopes. Zoo officials, who also houses six tigers and two jaguars, plan to sell at auction Thursday, twelve young Lions, aged two to five.

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The initiative makes some animal defenders jump, the Global Fund for Nature (WWF) judging in particular that wild beasts should be transferred to other zoos or that females should be sterilized or under contraceptive.

Un lion dans le zoo de Lahore (Pakistan), qui va mettre aux enchères douze lions, le 5 août 2022 © Arif Ali A lion in the Lahore zoo (Pakistan), which will put auction twelve lions on August 5, 2022 "Exchanges and donations of animals between zoos are a largely accepted practice", assures Uzma Khan , wwf. "From the moment an institution such as a zoo fixes a price on a wild species, it encourages trade, which goes against preservation," she argues.

Video: 3 lions are hunted by a hippopotamus (Dailymotion)

in Pakistan, it is not uncommon - for the wealthiest - to take as a pet lions, tigers or other representatives of 'Exotic species, seen as external symbols of wealth. Their owners publish photos and videos of wild beasts on social networks, and praise them as accessories for films and photo sessions.

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Zoo officials, who set a reserve of 150,000 rupees ($ 700) per lion, hope that each animal will find a buyer for around two million rupees (approximately 9,300 dollars).

But any buyers must first register with local authorities and prove that they have the means to ensure the felines and an appropriate shelter.

- Lions collectors -

last year, an auction of Lions could not take place, potential buyers not having the necessary documents or certificates, recalls the zoo veterinarian, Muhammad Rizwan Khan.

Nouman Hassan, who attracted the wrath of the authorities for walking his tiger on a leash in Lahore - the second city of the country -, in any case plans to participate.

"I will try to buy two or three lions, that's for sure". The sale is also an opportunity to diversify the genetic heritage for collectors already with several Lions, he explains.

At the four corners of Pakistan, zoos are distinguished by the mediocrity of their facilities and the poverty of care provided to animals.

At the end of 2020, the zoo of the capital Islamabad, which had attracted international convictions for having mistreated the Kaavan elephant, had to close its doors. The 36 -year -old obese pachyderm then left for a Cambodian nature reserve.

The Zoo Safari de Lahore, which covers more than 80 hectares, is however considered one of the most welcoming in the country.

For Mr. Khan, the veterinarian, animals receive the best possible care there, which is reflected in their fertility. "They know a good life in captivity with us," he said.

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