A smuggled lion cub was transferred from downtown Beirut to a sanctuary in South Africa, but endangered animals are easily available.
Lebanon is only one of 18 countries which has not yet joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and lions, tigers, cheetah and chimpanzees are all openly available for the right price. Lions are listed for sale on Lebanese websites for $9,000 to $15,000, and some owners even boast that they will deliver internationally. There is a huge profit as lions are sold for less than $500 in Syria before crossing the border.
"The Government is taking the process of joining CITES seriously, and it has recently moved from the Council of Ministers to the Parliament," said Lana El-Khalil, President of Animals Lebanon. "Parliament now needs to move this up the agenda, ensure that Lebanon joins the Convention and enacts national legislation to be compliant, and actively enforces this legislation."
Animals Lebanon recently rescued another lion cub from a Beirut balcony, and after the two lions were smuggled from Syria in October they will be reunited in the sanctuary.
"We are glad that this lion finally made it to the sanctuary, but for every animal we rescue far more are smuggled in. The government must work quickly to stop these animals coming into the country and ending up as pets or locked in private unregulated zoos," continued El-Khalil.
About Animals Lebanon:
Founded in 2008, Animals Lebanon (www.animalslebanon.org) works to protect animals through legislation, education, campaigns and rescues. As one of the most effective organizations in the Middle East, Animals Lebanon has rescued thousands of animals while closing down unregulated zoos, campaigning against abusive circuses and investigating the smuggling of endangered species.