A Kuwaiti man was killed on Tuesday morning by a lioness he was attempting to train inside a recreational facility in Saudi Arabia. The mauling was reported to the police in Hafr Al Baten in northern Saudi Arabia by the victim’s friend who requested urgent help.
However, despite the efforts to save his life, the victim did not survive the attack and died at the hospital from injuries to his neck and thighs, Saudi daily Al Riyadh reported on its website.
The friend said he was the main trainer of the lioness and that he was out to buy groceries from the store in the neighbourhood when the attack occurred.
He said, upon returning to the facility, he was shocked by the sight of his friend being mauled by the lioness and took a knife and killed her.
Authorities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have often warned residents against keeping non-domestic animals in their homes or in majlises.
Keeping wild animals and exotic pets at home has turned into a fashion statement among the young and rich who see rearing them as a status symbol.
The phenomenon has taken ominous proportions as the purchase of illegal wild animals has become easy, mainly through social media platforms where they are advertised.
In December 2014, five Kuwaiti lawmakers pushed for the enactment of a law that incriminates purchasing, selling or dealing in wild animals.
MPs Kamel Al Awadhi, Adnan Abdul Samad, Ahmad Al Qudhaibi, Ahmad Al Azmi and Rakan Al Nisf suggested that violators be jailed for six months or fined 20,000 dinar (Dh244,518), or both.
Exceptions should be decided by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) and should be limited to individuals, circuses and animal zoos, the bill said.
The move by the lawmakers followed the tragic death of a Filipina domestic helper who was mauled by a lion kept by her sponsor.
Lourdes Hingco Abejuela died at a hospital in Kuwait days after she was attacked by the wild animal.
Her employer had initially claimed that the wounds were afflicted by a dog and the medical staff reportedly treated her, but failed to keep her under observation, allowing her to go home.
However, her situation deteriorated and she was taken again to hospital where she died.
Kuwaiti authorities apprehended the employer who admitted Lourdes had been mauled by a lion he kept at home, and launched an investigation into the behaviour of the hospital medical staff.
In September 2013, a Kuwaiti man averted a possible tragedy when he succeeded in luring a runaway lion roaming the streets into his car before calling the police.