“If I had my way… there wouldn’t be a single lion or tiger in captivity anywhere in the world. They never take to it. They’re never happy. They never settle down… You can see it in their eyes…”-Hugh Lofting
Any individual, who has a genuine love for wildlife animals, would share the same thought as Hugh Lofting. We need to get over the notion of “ownership” or “domestication” as means of love or affection for animals.
Big cats belong to the wilderness. They never function in captivity the same way, they function in their natural habitat. It is CRUEL to rip them off their wild and predatory instinct, alongside narrowing their space to run and hunt, limiting them to just EAT, SHOW THEM OFF TO YOUR FRIENDS, MAKE A TIKTOK, SLEEP AND REPEAT. This affects both the physical and mental state of the animal.
And it shows. Their faces show it all.
Moreover, the trade of these exotic animals is mostly regulated or illegal in many countries but there is a huge black market for it. The animals are hunted, taken away, breaking big cat families, and then treated as property. It is incredibly ruthless and unfair to animals. They are often not transported properly, cared for properly, and sold off to the highest bidder regardless of that person’s ability to properly care for them.
In Pakistan, there is no law to prohibit the possession of wild animals, where keeping lions and tigers as pets, is a growing trend for Pakistani elites. You’ll come across several videos and TikTok, either showing them off or flexing their wealth. Or maybe they believe it’s brave to have lions or tigers.
Let not forget the relevance of lions and tigers in Pakistani politics. Love for SHERS runs high in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s echelons. In 2009, Nawaz Sharif’s nephew Salman Shahbaz obtained a special permit from the federal government to import two Siberian tigers from Canada, while Siberian tigers have a threat-to-go instinct. It’s also against the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species which Pakistan is a signatory but it’s PAKISTAN, after all.
Just like humans do not like being constantly controlled or being someone’s property for mere showoff, big cats or any wild animal do not deserve to be confined to a small space not even close to their natural habitat.
Owning lions or tigers might be adventurous but they are not like your domesticated fragile cats. They are cute and adorable when they’re cubs but in the end, they are born wild and meant for hunting.
And surely, you do not want to be eaten by your pet, so you better free them and love them from afar.