A couple have sparked fury after posing with a lion cub in their wedding photos.
When wedding pictures of a newlywed couple are posted on social media they usually attract gushing comments from people congratulating them on their special day.
But images of a husband and wife gazing into each other’s loving eyes next to a lion cub in Pakistan on Instagram have provoked outrage.
The images were first shared on the Instagram story of Studio Afzl, a Lahore-based photography studio that does bridal photoshoots and covers weddings.
Horrified Instagram users have accused the studio and the couple of sedating the young animal to use as a prop.
The use of the hashtag #SherdiRani being used in the stories further exacerbated the outrage as they believed it was clearly added to highlight the cub’s presence.
The backlash has forced the studio to claim they don’t own the cub nor was it sedated or suffered any harm for the photo shoot.
In a further effort to exonerate themselves from criticism the studio said the cub was “enjoying and living freely” and shared two short boomerang videos of the animal to support their claim.
As a result of the outrage JFK Animal Rescue and Shelter visited the studio to find out more.
The shelter claimed the studio had regretted its decision to include the baby cub in he photoshoot.
The Instagram story videos shared by the studio also went viral across with one disgusted person tagging the local authorities and urging them to rescue the young animal.
Wildlife Department Punjab are claimed to be looking at whether to take action against the newlyweds, Ary News reports.
WWF Pakistan’s director general, told The Independent: “According to the officials, the wild animals and birds can be kept during the wedding but they cannot be used for commercial purposes.
“There are numerous, unaccounted lions in private ownership and unfortunately, it is legal to buy and sell exotic species bred within 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 believes that the cub seen in the video and photos is from a breeding farm where the exotic animals are “trained” so they can be kept at homes as pets.
He explained that the African lion cub would be around two or three months old and has become familiar with humans.
He added: “He has become acquainted with his master and follows his instructions. Wedding photos and videos also show that he is following his master’s instruction.”lion cub, Newlyweds, wedding photos