'He loves to cuddle': A day in the lives of two Pakistani brothers raising an African lion named Simba as a pet
Two Pakistani brothers have adopted what is quite possibly the most unconventional pet one can have around their homes: a lion. Hamzah and Hassan Hussain, from the coastal city of Karachi, have had the big cat — who they lovingly named Simba after the beloved animated character from Disney's 'The Lion King' — since he was two weeks old and insist he's the tamest, most-loving pet one could have.
According to the Daily Mail, Hamzah and Hassan have had Simba, who is now 26-weeks-old, since he was born in their family farm and took the responsibility of caring for his needs after his mother stopped feeding him.
Speaking about how they came to take the decision to adopt a lion, Hassan told Barcroft TV, "The lion was born on our farm and his mother couldn't feed him the milk so I brought him into our home," adding that he loved cuddles.
"Ever since, we have been raising him like our brother," he continued. "I named him Simba and he is a very tame lion. He is now 26-months-old. He's like my baby, so that's why I'm not afraid of him. You can see that I can put my hands in his mouth."
Simba isn't just confined to the walls of their home either. He's taken out to walks and even accompanies the brothers in their car as they travel around the city. While it might seem like a scary prospect to most, it's just another day in the lives of Hamzah and Hassan. "I am not scared of living with him as he is like my younger brother or baby," Hassan explained. "I put my hands in his mouth, cuddle and caress him and he loves that."
Hamzah revealed he was friendly around other people too, but only if they did not panic. "If he's with someone he knows, he's fine," he said. "If a new person is around then he'll want to play and they'll need to stand still to be OK. If they shout or run, then he may bite."
The Daily Mail reported that Massai lions — the breed to which Simba belongs — have been extinct in Pakistan since the 1800s and are now only found in African countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. However, the Pakistani government issues special permits to import wild animals, a permit which wealthy people like Hamzah and Hassan, who own a restaurant, use to import wild animals and set up exotic farms.
And as expected, taking care of a big cat like Simba is not without its costs. "I feed him only the best of meats," Hassan revealed. "Simba eats five kilos of beef daily and sometimes I feed him goat meat too. However, he dislikes chicken and never eats it."
The next step for the brothers is to find Simba a partner to mate with him, and they know they'll have the work cut out for them. "If I cannot find a partner for Simba locally, I will import it from South Africa," Hassan said.