Manama: A Saudi national had a lucky escape after he survived a mauling by a lion at a recreational facility.
The wounded Saudi was deeply injured and taken to a hospital in Buraydah, the capital of Al Qaseem Region in north central Saudi Arabia.
“The Operations Room received a call at 6:32 am on Tuesday reporting an attack by a lion on an individual at a recreational facility,” the spokesperson for Al Qaseem Red Crescent, Mohammad Al Juaifan, said, quoted by Saudi news site Sabq.
“A medical team and a security unit rushed to the scene and the injured man was taken to hospital for treatment.”
No details about the link between the Saudi citizen and the lion or the fate of the wild beast were mentioned.
However, Al Juaifan called for the highest levels of caution while dealing with wild or poisonous animals “to avoid dangers and risks.”
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 March 2016, a tiger with a broken chain attached to its collar was filmed by an onlooker as it was weaving between cars in heavy traffic in the Qatari capital Doha.
In February last year, a Kuwaiti man was 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.
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.
In December 2014, five Kuwaiti lawmakers pushed for the enactment of a law that incriminates purchasing, selling or dealing in wild animals.
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.