A Thai woman could go to jail after her friend took her pet lion cub in a Bentley

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A viral video has stirred controversy in Pattaya City, as it shows a foreigner cruising around in a luxury convertible with a lion cub casually sitting in the back seat. The footage, uploaded by Facebook user Madamannudon, quickly gained attention, prompting officials to launch an investigation into the legality of the exotic animal’s ownership and the safety of the public.

The video, captured in Soi Phratamnak 5 in Bang Lamung district of Chonburi province, has raised concerns about the treatment of wildlife and the potential risks posed by keeping such animals as pets. Pattaya tourist police, in collaboration with immigration police and national park officials, are conducting the investigation to determine if the lion cub is owned legally and if proper safety measures are in place.

According to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), ownership of exotic animals like lions requires registration under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This convention aims to regulate and monitor the international trade of endangered species, ensuring their protection and sustainable use.

In Chonburi province, where the incident took place, only 15 lions have been registered with the department, with owners including one zoo and four Thai individuals. The DNP official highlighted that lions are popular pets among wealthy Thais and foreigners, with a price tag of around 500,000 baht per animal.

However, the failure to register the ownership of CITES-protected animals can result in severe penalties, including up to one year of imprisonment and/or a fine of 100,000 baht. This strict regulation underscores the importance of responsible ownership and the need to adhere to wildlife protection laws.

As the investigation unfolds, the public eagerly awaits the outcome, hoping for a resolution that prioritizes the welfare of the lion cub and ensures compliance with wildlife conservation regulations.

(Source: SCMP | The Star | Straits Times | PBS World)

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