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Czech Circus Performer Faces 8 Years in Prison for Keeping 14 Lions Illigally

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A circus performer from Prague, identified as H. N., is currently confronted with potential imprisonment of up to 8 years in Slovakia due to his handling of lions. The 34 year old circus owner has been charged by Slovak police for the unlawful possession of 14 lions. In a statement released on social media, the police highlighted that the accused has been keeping these African lions in different locations across Slovakia, most recently in the town of Stropkov, which violates the law governing the protection of wild animal species.

The collective value of the fourteen lions, consisting of four males and ten females, exceeds 193,000 euros (equivalent to over 4.5 million crowns).

Formally, the circus owner is facing charges related to the offense of violating the protection of plants and animals. Slovak police have cautioned that the handling of endangered animal and plant species necessitates permission and approval from the relevant state authorities. If the accused commits such actions in Slovakia involving an amount surpassing 133,000 euros (around 3.1 million crowns), he may face a prison sentence of up to 8 years, as indicated by the police.

The illegal trade of endangered plant and animal species is considered one of the top four security threats globally in terms of financial implications, according to Slovak police. They further warned that this activity often involves extensive networks of international criminal organizations, enticed by the minimal risk of detection and the relatively low penalties associated with such operations.

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