Lion on the loose sparks traffic chaos in Karachi

21:46 01.09.2023

In a shocking turn of events, commuters in Karachi, Pakistan found themselves stuck in an unusual traffic jam on Tuesday, August 29, as a lion escaped from a private vehicle and roamed freely on the road. The owner of the lion, later identified as Shamsul Haq, stated that he no longer wanted the big cat, sparking concerns about the illegal practice of keeping exotic animals as pets in residential areas.

The lion's escape occurred during rush-hour traffic, adding to the chaos and panic among the onlookers and motorists. Karachi police swiftly reacted to the situation and dispatched teams to capture the lion, fully aware of the potential danger it posed to the public. "Our teams rushed here immediately. Praise be to Allah, it is with us safely and no one is in danger now," wildlife inspector Mukhtyar Soomro assured reporters from Reuters.

Video footage from the scene captured the heart-stopping moment when the lion was finally captured and led out by the scruff of its neck. It was a relief for everyone involved, as the lion's capture brought an end to the extensive traffic congestion caused by both media vehicles and curious onlookers who rushed to witness the unusual spectacle.

According to reports, the lion was captured when it grew bored with walking amidst the traffic and wandered into the basement of a nearby building. The witness on the scene described the situation as a "massive traffic jam" as the presence of the escaped lion attracted a significant crowd. The incident shed light on a prevalent but illegal practice in Pakistan, where wealthy businessmen often operate private zoos and parade exotic animals for the public's amusement.

In response to the incident, Pakistan's Wildlife Department took custody of the captured lion, while the owner, Shamsul Haq, was detained and is facing charges. Senior Superintendent of Police Shiraz Nazir confirmed that a case will be registered against Haq. The illegal smuggling of the lion to another province was suspected when officials found inconsistencies in the suspects' statements. Initially, they claimed they were taking the lion to see a veterinarian, but their story quickly unraveled when an aged tortoise was discovered in the vehicle.

Further investigation into the incident revealed that Haq had purchased the lion approximately a year ago when it was just 18 months old. The motive behind the lion's escape remains unclear, although officials believe it may have been due to the harsh conditions of transport, with the lion being confined in a small and dilapidated cage.

The incident has sparked concerns about the illegal trade and ownership of exotic animals in Pakistan. Authorities are cracking down on individuals who engage in this practice, as it poses a threat to public safety and the welfare of these majestic creatures. The lion, now in the care of the Karachi Zoo, underwent a medical examination, which revealed that it had no health issues.

As news of the lion's escape spread on social media, reactions varied from alarm to amusement. Users expressed their astonishment at the lion's stroll through the city, with some humorously remarking that the lion seemed to be aware of the "law of the jungle" in Karachi, alluding to the city's notorious crime rate.

This incident serves as a reminder that wild animals belong in their natural habitats and not in private possession. It is essential for authorities to continue their efforts to enforce legislation against the illegal trade and ownership of exotic animals, ensuring the safety and well-being of both humans and wildlife alike.

/ Friday, September 1, 2023, 9:46 PM /

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