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Man jailed for keeping lion club in Paris flat

The lion cub rescued after being discovered hidden in a small cage in a garage in Marseille
The lion cub rescued after being discovered hidden in a small cage in a garage in Marseille HO/Douanes Françaises/AFP

A man in his 30s has been jailed for six months for keeping a lion cub in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris. And another cub was found in a garage in the southern city of Marseille this week.

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A court in Créteil, south-east of Paris, sentenced the self-styled "animal lover" to six months in prison and a 2,000-euro fine on Friday for illegal possession of the animal and trying to sell it.

The 10-week-old female cub was found on Tuesday evening at the home of some of the man's neighbours in nearby Valenton.

It was in their child's room, while the man, who was already known to the police, hid in a cupboard.

The police had been tipped off by one of his contacts on Snapchat, where he has posted a video offering to sell the cub for 10,000 euros.

In court he claimed that the offer to sell was just "showing off" and that a friend had leant him the cub for a few days because he had been so fond of it.

Marseille garage

The public prosecutor said that officials are searching for three other lion cubs in the Paris region.

They know of their presence in the region because of videos posted on social media.

And on Wednesday customs officers found another cub, a female under two months old, in a cage in a car workshop in Marseille.

An employee, who is in detention, told them he had taken it from a building at the request of the former owners, who did not know waht to do with it.

Lions, tigers, drug-dealers, selfies

These are not the first such cases:

  • In 2017 a lion cub was found in a flat in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris and sent to a game reserve in South Africa;

  • In 2016 tiger cub was found in Seine-Saint-Denis after being abandoned by drug-dealers who hired it out for selfies;

  • In 2007 two lion cubs were found on board a vehicle travelling from Portugal to Italy as it passed through the southern city of Montpellier.

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