The Egyptian police officers who raided the house of wanted suspect in the village of Kafr Essam in north Cairo were probably expecting some resistance but they definitely weren’t expecting a lion to be unleashed on them. According to local press, the police officers were so shocked by the presence of the lion cub that some jumped from the second floor where the suspect lives to the street below to escape.
Sadly, the police went on to fire 200 bullets killing the lion cub while the wanted suspect managed to escape. A falcon in the suspect’s house was found unharmed. Whilst this story is certainly bizarre, it does illustrate the scale of the illegal trade in wildlife in Egypt as well as animals rights abuses.
This April, protest were held outside Cairo and Giza zoo protesting the poor treatment of animals in zoos such as lions as well as concerns that Egypt had become known as hub of international illegal trade in wildlife.
Mona Khalil of the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals (ESMA) explained, “At the root of all this is a not only systemic corruption but also policy failure, as Egypt is lacking even the basic animal welfare legislation that would enable the prosecution of violators.
“Some will say that now is not the time to ask for animal’s rights, when human rights are still being violated. But actually there is no better time, as Egypt is trying to build a more just and humane society for all its inhabitants.”
During the revolution in Egypt to overthrow the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, 50 horses and three camels died due to the owners’ inability to reach them or feed them.
It was also recently reported that an Egyptian citizen had purchased a lion to fight and kill in “in an effort to promote tourism in the country.” Bikya Masr reported that the Egyptian had bought the lion for around 25,000 Egyptian pounds in complete violation of international wildlife regulations.
Egypt has a particularly chequered past in terms of animals rights, from holding dolphins to tiny pools to attract tourists to killing the wrong sharks after the Red Sea attacks last year to pacify holiday-makers. Indeed, the tourism industry does appear to play some role in the country’s poor animal rights record- even when misguided Egyptian individuals carry out the abuse.