This abandoned lion cub was found in an empty Paris apartment
This abandoned lion cub was found in an empty Paris apartmentParis Fire Service

A famished lion cub was found in an empty apartment in a Paris suburb after being abandoned by a man who hired the creature to show off, said police.

Officers began hunting for the cub after noticing selfies on social media of the 24-year-old man posing with the wild animal.

Investigators tracked the man down at his home east of Paris, but discovered he kept the lion at another address.

The fire service and animal rescuers arrived at the second apartment in the northeastern Noisy-le-Sec suburb yesterday (10 October) to find the abandoned cub locked in a small cage and "wasting away".

The startled animal was captured with a lasso, and was handed over to a local animal welfare group.

The man, who has so far not been named, was taken into custody on charges of illegally keeping a wild animal.

Police said the man is known to them after previously riding a horse through the streets of Montreuil, an eastern Paris suburb.

The Paris Fire Service said on its Facebook page: "It is important to remind everyone that wild animals are neither domestic animals nor toys and are subject to specific regulations."

This is not the first time a big cat has been found abandoned in the French capital's northern suburbs.

In 2016, a tiger cub was abandoned northeast of Paris, where it was being rented out by drug dealers for a few euros a photo.