Pet lion confiscated in Cambodia after TikTok videos

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A lion is seen in Phnom Penh, CambodiaImage source, Cambodia Environment Ministry

Cambodian authorities have confiscated a lion that was being illegally kept as a pet after it was seen being cuddled and bathed in social media videos.

Officials said a Chinese national had imported the animal and was raising it at a villa in the capital Phnom Penh.

They launched their investigation in April, after discovering footage of the 70kg (11st) lion on TikTok.

The 18-month-old animal was moved to a wildlife rescue centre.

Authorities have not announced whether the owner will face any legal action.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told AFP news agency that images shared on TikTok showed the lion sitting on a driveway and being sprayed down with a hose as a young cub.

"People have no right to raise rare wildlife as pets," he said.

Animal rescue non-governmental organisation Wildlife Alliance wrote in a Facebook post that the "conditions at a residential home are inappropriate for a wild animal".

"In addition, the lion's canine teeth had been removed, along with its claws, which drastically reduces a lion's quality of life," it said.

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