A Chinese lion “whisperer” reportedly let his pet lion cub roam freely within his residential area in Pattaya, causing fear and concern among neighbors.
Nongprue Police and officials from the Office of Conservation Area 2, Department of National Parks, and Wildlife and Plant Conservation visited a house in the Central Park Hill village in Soi Thung Klom-Tan Man in the Banglamung district after getting a peculiar report about a “white lion” being spotted in the neighborhood.
The authorities arrived at a two-story house and indeed found a white lion but it was still just a cub roaming within the fenced interior of the property. A Chinese man, Mr. Shen Tai, 39, showed up and declared ownership of the tiny beast.
According to police, Mr. Shen produced legal documents showing he had bought the lion for 500,000 baht from a Thai man, Mr. Yothin Nakorn, who owned a white lion farm in Chachoengsao province. However, the Chinese man could not show a license required to raise a lion, which the authorities advised him to later request from the Office of Conservation Area 2, within an undisclosed time frame.
Dr. Pairot Promwatt, a veterinarian who accompanied the authorities stated that white lions are wild animals under the control category “Kor (ก)” and are considered dangerous. Therefore, owners must have a permit to possess them and register their ownership of the wild animals correctly.
It is possible to keep a white lion as a pet in Thailand, but the owner must obtain the necessary permits for ownership, Dr. Pairot said, adding a lion should also be raised in a restricted area to prevent it from causing harm to people.
For now, Shen was allowed to retain ownership of the lion and stated he would obtain the proper permits, with authorities promising to follow up.