On its website, Animal City Lebanon is described as a zoo that “shelters” and “protects” over 50 species of animals. But its Instagram tells a completely different story. In a video posted on July 20, 2021, a distressed, panting lion can be seen clawing at a plexiglass box — with two women inside laughing and taunting him. The women mimic the animal’s thrashing, pose for a photo, and give thumbs-ups, all while the lion displays clear signs of agitation and trauma. This stunt is clearly trading in an innocent animal’s comfort and welfare for a payout and a photo — and it’s totally unacceptable.
On closer inspection, the zoo’s Instagram conveys even more abusive, exploitative situations than this one — they have “cub petting” pictures, where a small lion baby is taken from its mother and handed over to an inexperienced visitor. They also offer the same service with tiny bear cubs. Actions like this not only endanger the lion cub and the person paying to hold it — it completely skews public perception of wild animals like these big cats, making people feel empowered to buy and sell them as pets or trophies in the thriving, cruel wildlife market. No matter how many blurbs they write about “inspiring people to care” about animals, it is clear that Animal City Lebanon is only inspired to make as much money off the backs of these distressed animals as they can.
We must ask the government to step in, and begin with the rescue of the most clearly neglected animal. Sign the petition and tell the Lebanese Government to rescue the poor lion seen in the above video, and then charge this zoo with abuse under the Animal Protection Law of 2017.