Does Europe have an exotic pet trade problem?

Almost all the time we read about ownership of exotic pets the stories emanate from the United States where there are plenty of private zoos and obsessions with possessing lions and tigers (and shooting them in Africa). That’s why Big Cat Rescue exists in Florida. It is said that there are far more tigers in cages in America than in the wild in the rest of the world. A reflection of the attitude of humans towards the wild cats and many other species. An attitude which will almost inevitably lead to the extinction of wild cats in the wild at some stage in the future.

But this story highlights a possible exotic pet trade problem in Europe in 2018. The iconic big wild cats are under so much pressure from human avarice and bad behaviour it’s hard to see a future for them.

The head of animal welfare at Born Free, Dr Chris Draper said:

“It is staggering that in 2018 lion cubs are still finding their way into the pet trade in Europe,”

Here is a series of photos of King from how he was found in the apartment to his relative freedom in a reserve:

In October 2017 it was reported that a lion cub was found living in a Paris apartment in very poor conditions. He was half starved and kept in a small cage. The owner, a 24-year-old man, took selfies of himself with his lion and I expect he posted them on social media. He wanted to impress.

He’s an example of the desire by many humans to own an exotic pet. However, it is surprising that this happened in Northern Europe. It appears that even in 2018 lion cubs are still finding their way into the pet trade in Europe.

The cub was rescued from the apartment last summer and transported to South Africa by the international wildlife charity Born Free.

The cub has been named King and will live the rest of his life at Born Free’s game reserve, Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

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