In recent months several lions apparently being kept as pets have been rescued – including one that was found in a Lamborghini on the Champs-Elysées.
Four of the young lions have been found a temporary home in Lyon, but now a British animal welfare charity is trying to raise enough money to have the quartet moved to a game reserve in South Africa.
- Lion cub found inside luxury car on Champs-Elysées
- Police seize another lion cub from Paris suburbs
- Another lion found in Marseille garage
Lizzie Moyes, spokesman for animal charity Born Free, said: “There are four young lion cubs in Lyon that we’re fundraising to take to South Africa to give them a home for life.
“They were all found separately in France – in an apartment, a garage, even a Lamborghini on the Champs-Elysées.
“They were all subject to the exotic pet trade and were found in horrendous conditions.”
The four lions were part of what appears to have become something of a trend in France – illegally keeping wild animals as pets.
One of the lions, since christened Dadou, was found on Paris’ most famous street – the Champs-Elysées – in the back of a Lamborghini.
Hier soir la Fondation #30millionsdamis s’est occupée d’un lionceau saisi par la Police sur les Champs-Élysées. Le petit fauve était à bord d’une voiture de sport de luxe de location. Interpelé, l’individu qui se trouvait au volant du bolide a été arrêté et placé en garde à vue. pic.twitter.com/QCmkcrQwPj
— 30 Millions d'Amis (@30millionsdamis) 13 November 2018
His owner was caught by police officers taking photos with the cub. Dadou, who is missing the tip of his tail, is also thought to be about seven months old.
When he was found, he had weak hind legs, but has now recovered.
The largest of the four cubs – named Horus – was found in reasonably good health on a child’s bed in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris.
A lion cub was found on a child's bed in a Paris apartment. Photo: Twitter
His owner, who was hiding in a neighbour’s cupboard when Horus was found, had posted images of the cub on Snapchat. He was sentenced to six months in prison for illegally keeping a wild animal.
The cub christened Kuuma was found on the same day as Horus in a garage in Marseille.
She was very unwell and underweight, with a skin irritation, dull coat, gastrointestinal problems and corneal ulcers.
This lion cub was found in a garage in Marseille. Photo Douanes Francaises / AFP
Now thought to be about seven months old, Kuuma has since recovered, but her eyes are being monitored. Her owner has been prosecuted and the case is waiting to go to court.
The fourth cub – thought to be about five months old – was given up to an animal charity by her owner after the animal became very unwell.
She had glaucoma, and was under-developed and underweight, with extreme hair loss and diarrhoea.
The cub, who has so far not been named, is now doing much better. Her hair has grown back and she is slowly gaining weight.
Born Free wants to take the four cubs to its big cat rescue centre in Shamwari Private Game Reserve, South Africa.
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