Lion causes panic in Karachi as it escapes from car into heavy traffic

Animal is eventually recaptured after two hours on the loose

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 30 August 2023 14:03 BST
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Runaway lion captured after causing chaos in Karachi

A lion has caused panic on the streets of the Pakistan city of Karachi, having escaped from a car into heavy traffic.

The lion was being transported by its owner when it escaped onto the main road of the bustling port city during peak traffic hours, the police said in a statement. Having wandered along the road for some time, the animal made its way into the basement of a nearby building, sparking fear among local residents.

In one of the videos shared on social media, the big cat can be seen racing and charging at a man, but walks away after falling to the ground. It was eventually recpatured in the basement after two hours on the loose.

The animal, believed to be about two years old, was captured by a team of Sindh Wildlife officials after the local police cordoned off the area. "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 incident brought traffic in the area to a standstill with crowds gathering to try to catch a glimpse of the escaped lion. Visuals of the lion went viral on social media, with many expressing alarm. Others saw an excuse to make jokes at the city’s expense. "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.

People carry a cage for capturing a lion that escaped from a private vehicle
People carry a cage for capturing a lion that escaped from a private vehicle (Reuters TV/via Reuters)

The Wildlife Department said the lion had been taken to its compound, as keeping lions in residential areas is banned. However, 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.

"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.

A pet leopard escaped from a house in the capital Islamabad and roamed the streets before being shot with a sedation dart in February this year.

In 2017, police in Pakistan arrested a man who took his pet lion for a night-time drive through the streets of Karachi.

Reuters contributed to this report

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