A pet lion was confiscated in Cambodia after its owner tried to turn him into a TikTok star

A lion laying in a room
Cambodian authorities raided a villa in Phnom Penh after videos of a lion in a driveway was seen on TikTok. @pheaktraneth/Twitter
  • The lion was found defanged and declawed in a high-end district in capital Phnom Penh.
  • Authorities spotted the big cat on TikTok videos in late April.
  • Videos show the lion being cuddled and bathed by its owner.
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Cambodian authorities confiscated a lion Sunday held in captive by a Chinese national at a Phnom Penh villa in the high-end Boeung Keng Kang district.

It was discovered after authorities saw it on TikTok videos in late April, Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told AFP, saying they showed the lion being cuddled and bathed.

The 18-month-old male, weighing 70kg, was found declawed and defanged, and had been imported by the owner, according to Pheaktra.

In photos released Sunday by the environment ministry, the big cat was also shown with a small dog, according to the BBC.

“People don’t have right to raise wildlife animals at home. Wildlife animals should be in the natural forest,” tweeted Pheaktra.

Furthermore, “the conditions at a residential home are inappropriate for a wild animal,” said NGO Wild Alliance who participated in the raid in a Facebook post, adding that “the lion’s canine teeth had been removed, along with its claws, which drastically reduces a lion’s quality of life.”

The lion has since been transferred to Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Center, in Cambodia’s Takeo province.