Wildlife charity boss sparks fury after smashing birthday cake in pet lion’s face (VIDEO)
The head of a wildlife NGO has ruffled the feathers of animal lovers worldwide after a shocking video surfaced of him throwing cake in the face of a rescued lion during a party held to celebrate the big cat’s birthday.
Blend Brifkani, CEO of the Kurdish American Cooperation Organization, had posted the video to his Instagram to celebrate the birthday of Leo, a lion he rescued as a cub. While Brifkni has since deleted the video, a copy of the clip was circulated by Middle East Monitor on Friday.
In the video, Leo can be seen lying indoors and surrounded by several men squatting on the floor. Closest to Leo is Brifkani, who proceeds to smash a chocolate cake on top of the unsuspecting lion’s head and sending it into a frenzy much to the crowd’s enjoyment.
NGO boss celebrates birthday by attacking a lionBlend Brifkani, the CEO of the Kurdish American Cooperation Organization, published a video that shows him celebrating his birthday by attacking a lionREAD: https://t.co/Cw45QoWeIxpic.twitter.com/w3Q7YwUuDR— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) 7 июня 2019 г.
Leo is visibly confused by the ordeal and can be seen frantically trying to remove the cake from its face and jumping on furniture in a bid to escape the crowd of onlookers. Later in the clip, the lion is seen lying on the floor while an unidentified man provokes the cat by harassing him until he responds.
The video has sparked a stampede of fury from animal lovers online, prompting Brifkani to apologize on Instagram for his actions. “I have never intentionally intended to abuse Leo,” the CEO said, adding that he had come to see Leo as his best friend. Maintaining he wasn’t an animal abuser, he promised that Leo is “safe” and “will soon return to the wild.”
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I have never intentionally intended to abuse Leo, moreover, I would never want to hurt him in any way. The footage shows pure emotions of overwhelmingness and excitement that I had while celebrating his birthday. He has grown to be my very best friend and I love him indescribably. When I found him in the wilderness, he was alone, small and weak without a mother. If he had gotten into the wrong hands, he wouldn't have made it alive. I provided him a safe home, a good environment, veterinary care and everything needed to sustain the lions health until he grew. My plan was never to keep him in captivity, but rather raise him until he was well enough and old enough to be let out into the wild again. I have build my organization on rescuing endangered animal species, raising them, providing them with all the care and treatment that they need and then releasing them back into their natural habitat. One of my yearly projects include releasing captivated wild bears into the mountains,where they belong. I admit, it was wrong for throwing a cake on the lions face, I have let my emotions of excitement take over me and I apologize to those whom I have offended. I’m not an animal abuser,I’m constantly working on projects that show how important animals are to me, especially Leo and how much I care for his well-being. I assure you that Leo is safe and will soon return to the wild. @babylonfm @animals.of.kurdistan @peta @respectanimalrights @save.big.cats @donnamaria1961 @end_wildlife_abuse
However, commentators were quick to point out that returning Leo to the wild without him being integrated to survive by himself was dangerous and accused Brifkani of only apologizing because of the outrage. Others hoped Leo would be sent to a safe environment.
“He can’t return to the wild no more, but he sure can’t live on your couch as well. You should contact those who are able to take good care of him and raise him in a safe environment.”
It’s not the first time Brifkani’s efforts at wildlife conservation has backfired. Last year, the release of two bears in Iraqi Kurdistan didn’t go as planned after the bears attacked people attending their release, injuring a photographer.
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