Declawed lion found through TikTok returned to owner

A defanged, declawed lion has been returned to its owner after Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen intervened.

The 18-month-old animal was seized last week by local authorities.

Hun Sen said in a post on his Facebook page that the case was a special one.

Because the owner fed the lion from a young age and "loves him as a family member".

Here's the big cat's owner Guo - a Chinese businessman.

"I am really grateful, I don't know how to put it into words. As for the public, as we have stated earlier, anyone is allowed in to have a look between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m."

The prime minister added that Guo must keep the lion in a cage to protect family members and neighbors, and ensure it is properly fed.

"The fences have been installed, we will keep him up here. We will consult people at the zoo and feed him more suitable food."

The 154lb male lion was transported back home from the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Authorities tracked the animal down in the capital Phnom Pehn's Boeung Keng Kang district, after videos of it went viral on TikTok.

At the time, an environment ministry spokesperson said it was a rare species smuggled from abroad.

He added that, according to the law, "people don’t have the right to raise wildlife at home."

Animal rights organization PETA says exotic animals should never be purchased from dealers or pet shops, and warns of the dangers of the exotic animal trade.

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