KARACHI: A team of Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) disclosed on Thursday that the wild lion seen in the photographs that the cricketer Shahid Afridi uploaded on his Twitter was not owned by Afridi but it belonged to a fan of the renowned cricketer. SWD official, Adnan Hamid Khan who also headed the inquiry team appointed to investigate the matter told Daily Times that last week cricketer Shahid Afridi shared few photos on his verified twitter account, in which he and his six-year-old daughter were seen posing with a lion inside his house with no bearer between them.According to Khan, these photos went viral and people started criticizing Afridi. He added that many citizens and media persons had started asking SWD questions about laws pertaining to keeping wild animals in captivity. “After this SDW conservator Taj Mohammad Shaikh ordered an inquiry into the matter and we found that the lion is owned by Shahid Afridi’s fan Hassan Hussain who owns a beauty parlor. Hassan Hussain obtained an official license issued by the SWD that permitted him to keep the lion in a private mini zoo at his house located in the Pakistan Employees Cooperative Housing Society (PECHS),” Khan informed Daily Times before adding that Hassan Hussain also had an animal breeding farm in Thatta district’s Mirpur Sakro.On June 9, Afridi from his verified twitter handle shared two photographs of him feeding a deer and his daughter posing in front of a chained lion. “Great to spend time with loved ones. Best feeling in the world to have my daughter copy my wicket taking celebrations. And yes don’t forget to take care of animals, they too deserve our love and care :)” read Shahid Afridi’s tweet.Later, more photos in which he was sitting in front of lion were shared on social media sites. Khan confirmed that the owner of the lion, Hussan had an official license that he had acquired from SWD by paying a fee of Rs.1 million. He stated that the lion shown in the photographs was a two year old African Lion. “If someone buys an African lion he has to pay Rs 1 million to obtain the license. He also has to spend a huge sum of money on feeding the lions. An adult African lions eats at least 8 kilograms (kgs) of meat every day,” explained Adnan Hamid Khan.Khan pointed out that Hussain had the right to show his lion to other people but the issued license clearly mentioned that the owner could not move the lion out of his private mini zoo located inside his house.“Now we are inquiring on the protocol that was applied to carry the lion to Afridi’s house. We have also issued a warning to the owner to deter him from doing this again,” continued Khan.According to Khan, the lion’s owner was a fan of Afridi and he wished to meet his favorite cricketer and show him the lion. Khan said that one could clearly see that the animal was chained when Afridi was sitting with the animal. “Everyone is criticizing Afridi because of his celebrity status. Otherwise, there is nothing to criticize,” opined Khan.According to the rules issued by SWD, anyone who wishes to keep a lion has to pay Rs 1 million to obtain an official license permitting them to keep the animal in private space.8 to 10 licenses have been issued to private mini zoos in Karachi which means that at least 8 to 10 lions are being kept inside houses in the metropolis.Published in Daily Times, June 15th 2018.