Armenian billionaire present white lions to Belarus President
Businessman Gagik Tsarukyan gifted two white lions to the son of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
Hetq has discovered that on October 18, 2016, four rare lions were transported from Armenia to Belarus. These lions had been shipped to Armenia in April of the same year, ostensibly from South Africa.
In reply to a Hetq inquiry, Armenia’s Ministry of Nature Protection provided copies of CITES import and export permits for the animals.
Tsarukyan presented the two young white lions to Lukashenko during the meeting. The official release on the meeting mentions nothing of the kind.
One month later, 12-year-old Nikolay Lukashenko donated two of the juvenile lions to the Minsk Zoo.
Wild white lions are listed as endangered, and their trade is highly restricted.
It is not known what’s happened to the two other white lion cubs. Perhaps, the Lukashenko family has kept them.
What’s interesting, and more than a bit odd, is that the CITES Trade Database shows no lions being imported by Armenia. It also shows no lions being exported to Armenia from South Africa.
The Yerevan Zoo has no white lions. A web search shows a white lion cub can fetch up to US$140,00.