Who prefers lions to dogs as pets?

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | December 16th, 2019

I have always wondered why humans domesticated dogs from the wild as companion and pet and left the lion out. The Lion has been referred to as the king of the jungle due to his powerful abilities to choose and crack down on his prey. Documentaries abound about this big cat, where antelopes are chased for meals by the lion pack. The coordinated attack orchestrated by these lions to prey on other vulnerable creatures and turn them into meals on successful crack down remains a huge entertainment to me but not to the vulnerable creatures.

People have titles, especially here in Africa, designating them as lions due to wonderful or powerful things they were able to achieve or do with their hands but why do they shy away from actually capturing this creature either as cubs or fully grown lions and domesticating them like dogs?

It was on the news recently of an Indian resident in Lagos who prefers this creature to the widely accepted dogs as pet. This 2-year old lion had an animal attendant who fed him on daily basis with all manner of food and a veterinarian who also takes care of the health of the lion. The news got out to the property owners and the innocent, caged, well-kept lion became a threat to the whole neighborhood. The lion never attacked anyone, not even the attendant or the veterinarian but the knowledge that such a creature was living among humans was a terrifying news to all that dwell in the neighborhood. The police was informed of this and the owner became wanted by the police as if he committed murder.

I was so excited to learn that someone actually domesticated this animal and was ready to go and possibly see for myself only to hear the sad news of societal rejection of the idea and police trying to arrest the owner of this incredible pet.

Do you think that the lion can replace dogs as security animals? Unfortunately this question is not one that can be answered easily do to the fact that the society will not even tolerate an experiment in this regard but rather animal rights vanguards will come up with press statements to dismiss the idea. The question I constantly ask is; do these animal rights people own dogs? But dogs were once in the wild thousands of years ago before they were domesticated so why are they resisting the possibility of domesticating lions?

I have seen pictures of Arabian Princes with their wild cats (Lions, Cheetah, tigers etc.) on the internet and I have always loved the idea of having them replace the regular dogs but it seems these guys have special exemption from the societal norm which places some perceived restriction on keeping them.

A video was circulating of a guy that reunited with his lion friends and the way the lions showed affection to him having missed him for a long while made me envy the guy and wished I was him. I have adored this powerful creature with serious obsession but like everybody else I need to thread with caution because this animal cannot detect love or likeness but can attack you when you look like a threat to them.  

It is not impossible to domesticate any animal including the lions provided they have been socialized with humans as cubs. They grow up accepting humans as companion or friends. The only problem is that they may not be able to hunt when returned to the wild because humans would provide them food when they are hungry but in the wild their parents would have thought them how to hunt for their own food. The fact that they now depend on humans for food poses danger for the lion itself because if they are rejected by the so called “animal freedom fighters” they might die when forced to go back to the wild.


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    Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

    Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about www.fairvet.com which he personally built from scratch.

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