The lioness after she was killed by the trainer Image Credit: Al Riyadh

Manama: The lioness that mauled a Kuwaiti national to death on Tuesday had attacked people on two other occasions, its owner told Saudi police.

The wild animal had been smuggled from Kuwait into Saudi Arabia and kept by the owner until Tuesday, when it attacked his friend and killed him.

“I left her with my friend and went to do some grocery shopping,” he said. “When I came back, I found that she had broken loose from the rope and attacked my friend, breaking his neck and starting to eat parts of his thigh. I was so angry I stabbed her and killed her,” he said, quoted by Saudi news site Al Marsad on Thursday.

The owner, who was going through a very difficult condition caused by the death of his friend, said they were training the lioness together since her birth and that they moved her to Kuwait three years ago to mate with a lion that the victim had in Kuwait.

The owner attributed the aggression of the wild animal to the fact that she had been shifted to a new place and was seeing unfamiliar people.

The police said the owner was responsible for the death of his friend since he did not draw lessons from the past two incidents.

He was also responsible for taking out the lioness on the dramatic day for further training.

However, some sources said that there was no legal ground to arrest the owner, claiming he was not responsible for the friend’s death.

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.