x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lioness seized for scary party trick

A pet lioness shown on YouTube swiping at frightened teenagers in a majlis has been confiscated from its owner.

ABU DHABI // A pet lioness shown on YouTube swiping at frightened teenagers in a majlis has been confiscated from its owner, a senior official said. The mobile phone footage of the fully grown lioness being led around the majlis scaring the owner's friends received hundreds of thousands of hits on the website but has now been removed. Abdul Rab al Hamiri, the acting head of the UAE branch of CITES, a service set up under an international convention on trade in wild animals and endangered species, expressed concern about the incident, which highlights problems caused by illegal trade in exotic and endangered animals.

"This is very saddening. These animals should not be kept as pets," Mr Hamiri said. "I have been told by people that the lion was removed. It's incredibly dangerous." "Lion at Home" was posted on YouTube nine months ago by one of several boys in the film. It shows the animal being led into the majlis on a long lead. The owner shouts, "I will show you truth!" His friends laugh hysterically and rush to the far end of the room shouting, "Careful! Careful!"

Two teenagers jump onto sofas lining the walls but the owner leads the animal close to them, shouting, "Let me tell you, let me tell you!" "Mohammed, no!" they yell, but he backs them into a corner as the clearly distressed lioness inches closer and swipes at them with her paws. One boy clutches at cushions for protection, shouting "Get it away from me!" @Email:loatway@thenational.ae