Lion Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s environmental police have restrained a lion found on the loose in the capital. Image Credit: Twitter/ Special Forces for Environmental Security

Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s environmental police said they had restrained a lion that had been found on the loose in the capital.

The Special Forces for Environmental Security (SFES) said the lion, located in a Riyadh district, had been brought under control and handed over to a specialist agency.

SFES posted a photo of the lion lying inside a cage.

There was no immediate word when and where the animal had been found and how it had been brought into Riyadh.

SFES has posted on their Twitter hotlines for the public to report any attacks on the environment or wildlife in Saudi Arabia.

The environment system in Saudi Arabia bans dealing in endangered animals including keeping and displaying them.

Violations are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of SR30 million. In recent years, incidents involving wild animals have been reported in the kingdom.

Earlier this month, Saudi security agencies and wildlife inspectors raided an establishment illegally keeping and displaying animals, according to a state wildlife institution.

The Saudi National Centre for Wildlife (NCW) said the facility had been uncovered in Asir region in south-western Saudi Arabia rearing and displaying wild animals, including a lion and a tiger.

Last March, NCW said security agencies in the kingdom had seized a cheetah, a wolf and a large snake in possession of a citizen.

Also in March, Saudi authorities said they had taken control of a fox spotted in a residential area in the east of the kingdom.

After checking its health and feeding it, the animal was released in its natural habitat to preserve environmental balance.

In 2021, Saudi authorities warned against illegal rearing predators after a lion mauled its keeper to death in Riyadh.

The illegal purchase of wild animals is believed to have thrived due to the influence of social media where they are marketed.