Leo the lion cub was kept on a balcony in Beirut, Lebanon, as a private pet before being rescued by Animals Lebanon. He will be sent to to live in Drakenstein Lion Park in South Africa. (Photo: Jamal Saidi/Reuters)
The recent tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio has sparked demand to end the sales of exotic animals to private owners. Unfortunately, the exotic animal trade is a worldwide problem.
According to care2.com, animal activists in Beirut, Lebanon, recently rescued a five-week-old lion cub who was living on an apartment balcony in downtown Beirut. Private buyers in Beirut can easily buy newborn cubs from zoos in Syria for as little as $350. Many cubs die in transport or from disease and malnutrition shortly after arriving in the country.
“The keeping of lions as pets has drastically increased in the last two years, and we regularly receive reports about new cubs,” said Lana El-Khalil, President of Animals Lebanon. “Within the first couple of months of life, a lion becomes too large and strong to be kept in a house, only to end up locked in a backyard cage or sold to a private zoo.”
Animals Lebanon will send the lucky little balcony lion, named Leo, to Drankenstein Lion Park, a sanctuary in South Africa and home to other big cats that have escaped similar fates.