Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Abused and illegal lion cub confiscated in north Lebanon

A distressing video surfaced on social media on 5 March showing a lion cub kept in a small wooden box and the terrified cub being forcibly dragged out by a metal chain around his neck.

Then another video, the person illegally keeping this lion, saying the lion is missing, unsure if the young cub was stolen or escaped.

Animals Lebanon contacted the authorities and media. The person was detained, but no one knew where the lion was.

Then in the evening of 8 March a video showing the lion had been found. The video was hard to watch. Dozens of people were gathered around him, his mouth cruelly taped shut. Some were pulling his ears, while others were simply cheering for photos, leaving the traumatized cub helpless and motionless.

We immediately drove from Beirut to Tripoli, and just before midnight the young male lion was moved into our care.


This young lion is the 21st big cat we have helped. Over the years we have cared for lions, tigers, cheetah, and leopard.
They were all rescued from zoos, kept as exotic pets, or confiscated at the airport when being smuggled into the country.
These lucky ones are now living in sanctuaries in the US, France and South Africa.


In 2013 We worked to have Lebanon join CITES, an international convention regulating the trade in endangered species.
In 2016 we worked to enact the last Chance for Big Cats Decree, restricting the keeping and trade of all big cat species.
In 2017 we worked to enact the national animal protection and welfare law.

We are urging the authorities to enforce the penalties for trafficking and abusing this lion. Everything from fines to imprisonment.

The first two days the lion was completely shut down. Exhausted and traumatized from this ordeal. Everything and everyone he experienced in the last weeks was negative for him.

We are focused now on getting him comfortable with us, eating properly, and vaccines and a health check.

We need your help 

This lion will go to the Drakenstein sanctuary in South Africa as soon as we win the court case and have all the permits issued. This sanctuary cares for other lions we have rescued, including two cubs we rescued six months ago – Kelly and Issam.

Thank you to the authorities and individuals who quickly acted to ensure the cub's safety.

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Registered Charity #1036, Founded 9 Sept. 2008 | PO Box 113-5859, Beirut, Lebanon | Contact us