UPDATE: Chonburi Officials Confiscate Escaped Lions Kept as Pets in Residential Area

Chonburi —

On January 25th, 2024, wildlife officials in Chonburi decided to confiscate two lions reportedly kept illegally as pets in a residential area, after the lions briefly escaped from their enclosure due to a malfunctioning gate.

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In a joint operation on Thursday, wildlife officials and police confiscated two lions kept as pets in a residential area in Huay Yai, Chonburi. The operation, led by Mr. Kongkiat Temtumnan, Director of the Office of Conservation Area 2, followed up on reports that the lions escaped from a residence and were spotted roaming the streets of Soi Khao Makok 13 on the same day.

According to reports, the lions were housed at a single-story residence, where two Rottweilers were also found. They are a male and a female, both approximately one year old. The homeowner, identified as 28-year-old Ms. Pha, declared ownership of the lions and admitted purchasing them for 500,000 baht each from a lion farm in Nakhon Pathom in December 2023. However, discrepancies emerged upon verification.

According to the officials’ revelation, documents presented by Ms. Pha stated both lions were male, but initial inspection revealed that there were one male and one female. Additionally, microchip scans revealed that a microchip in one lion appeared to be mismatched with the information in the handover letter, the officials stated. Neither lion was registered with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation, as required for Category A animals like lions.

Given the illegality of keeping unregistered lions and potential safety concerns, the wildlife officials decided to confiscate the animals. Tranquilizers were used to safely transport the lions to the Banglamung Wildlife Breeding Station until Ms. Pha could present valid documents for further processing.

A neighbor, Ms. Soodjai, described the lions as behaving similar to dogs, with occasional growling only when people neared the fence. However, Mr. Kongkiat, Director of the Office of Conservation Area 2, stressed that carnivorous animals like lions can pose great dangers to other people’s lives.

He explained that lion owners, who obtained the animals before October 18th, 2022, are supposed to report to the Department of National Parks before March 2023. In Ms. Pha’s case, she obtained the lions in December 2023 and failed to report them, thus she is subject to a violation of the Wild Animal Preservation and Protection Act of 2019.

This case, following the recent incident of a lion cub seen riding in a Bentley in Pattaya, has stirred up calls for stricter enforcement of wildlife possession regulations. In Chonburi alone, 14 lion owners have been officially registered, including individuals, farms, and a zoo. The lion cub from the Pattaya incident was also sourced from the same Nakhon Pathom farm.


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Aim Tanakorn
The local news translator at The Pattaya News. Aim is a twenty-four year old who currently lives in Bangkok. Interested in English translation, story-telling, and entrepreneurship, he believes that hard-working is an indispensable component of every success in this world.