Mokutanya's dining room, plus lion. [Photo: Facebook]
Mokutanya, a Burlingame izakaya, has definitely stirred up some controversy with the latest addition to its menu: for the next two weeks, they're serving a skewer of what they dub "Real African Lion Meat!!!" Some diners are livid about the new menu item, and many have taken to the restaurant's Facebook page to protest the offering, with comments ranging from "You should go out of business" to "Offensive." The restaurant responded to the complaints with a statement that "Lion is not an endangered animal, and also the one we use is farm raised lion."
While Mokutanya is correct in stating that lions are not endangered, African lions are considered vulnerable. The lion population in Africa is down to an estimated 32,000, compared to more than 100,000 in the 1960s, due to habitat loss and poaching. Lion meat can also be dangerous, given the animal's predator status, with lion carcasses more prone to accumulating parasites and diseases.
Mokutanya isn't the first restaurant to serve lion: Tampa-based Taco Fusion drew headlines this week after they served a $35 taco made with lion meat. The restaurant ultimately opted to pull the dish after protests from lion advocates.