KARACHI (Reuters) – An adult lion escaped from a private vehicle amidst heavy traffic in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Tuesday, causing panic for two hours before it was recaptured, police said.
The lion was being transported by its owner when it escaped on the main road of the bustling port city during peak traffic hours, the police statement said.
“Our teams rushed here immediately. Praise be to Allah, it is with us safely and no one is in danger now,” Wildlife Inspector Mukhtyar Soomro told Reuters at the site of the lion’s capture.
The escaped lion had made its way into the basement of a nearby building after roaming on the road for some time.
The area saw a massive traffic jam with media vehicles arriving at the scene to cover the incident and crowds gathering to try to catch a glimpse of the escaped lion, a Reuters witness said.
The Wildlife Department said the lion had been taken to its compound, as keeping lions in residential areas was banned.
“The owner of the lion has been detained and a case will be registered against him,” Senior Superintendent of Police Shiraz Nazir said in a statement.
Keeping wild cats as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan, where wealthy businessmen have been known to operate private zoos and sometimes parade the animals for the public.
In 2017, police in Pakistan arrested a man who took his pet lion for a night-time drive through the streets of Karachi.
Visuals of the lion went viral on social media, with users expressing alarm, but many others seeing the lighter side of the incident.
“Lion is taking stroll comfortably in Karachi as if he knows there is the law of the jungle here,” one user on messaging platform X posted, referring to the city’s high street crime rate.
(Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Alex Richardson)