A couple sparked anger after posing with a cub lion in their wedding photos.
When wedding pictures of a newly married couple are posted on social media, they usually attract bubbly comments from people congratulating them on their special day.
But pictures of a husband and wife looking into each other’s loving eyes on Instagram next to a lion cub in Pakistan have caused outrage.
The pictures were first shared on the Instagram story by Studio Afzl, a Lahore-based photography studio that takes bridal photos and covers weddings.
Horrified Instagram users have accused the studio and the couple of sedating the young animal as a prop.
The use of the hashtag #SherdiRani in the stories further exacerbated the outrage, as they believed it was clearly added to highlight the boy’s presence.
The backlash has forced the studio to claim that they neither own the cub, nor were sedated, or harmed for the photo shoot.
It was also said that the animal’s owner was present during the photo shoot.
In another attempt to break free of criticism, the studio said the boy was enjoying and living free and shared two short boomerang videos of the beast to back up their claim.
Following the outrage, JFK Animal Rescue and Shelter visited the studio to learn more.
The shelter claimed the studio regretted their decision to include the baby in the photoshoot.
The Instagram story videos shared by the studio also went viral when a disgusted person tagged local authorities and asked them to rescue the young animal.
According to Ary News, the Punjab Wildlife Department is to investigate whether action should be taken against the newlyweds.
The director general of WWF Pakistan told The Independent, “According to officials, the wild animals and birds can be kept during the wedding but cannot be used for commercial purposes.
“There are numerous privately owned unrecorded lions, and unfortunately it is legal to buy and sell exotic species bred in the country, and lion is one of them. Therefore, it is not difficult to get a cub for a shoot. “
Tanveer Janjua, DFO, Wildlife Lahore, told the BBC he believed the cub shown in the video and photos came from a breeding farm where the exotic animals are “trained” to be kept at home as pets.
He explained that the African lion cub would be around two or three months old and had become familiar with people.
He added, “He has met his master and is following his instructions. Wedding photos and videos also show that he is following his master’s instructions. “