Nine people were reportedly arrested on animal trafficking charges in connection to the selling of the critically endangered exotic animal

By Benjamin VanHoose
October 12, 2020 02:06 PM
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Law enforcement officials stepped in after a couple who answered an online ad about a Savannah cat for sale received a tiger cub instead.

According to a report from United Press International, a couple in France paid around $7,000 to buy the pet via an online ad in 2018. The Savannah cat kitten (a cross between an exotic African serval and a domesticated house cat) they expected turned out to be a baby tiger. After receiving the surprise cub, the couple brought the situation to the attention of local authorities.

Savannah cats are legal to have as pets in France, according to the outlet, however, the critically endangered Sumatran tiger is not.

After a two-year investigation, nine people were arrested earlier this month in connection to the buying and selling of the tiger, including the couple who bought it, though they were discharged by police, Indian Express reports.

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According to UPI, the cat is now in the care of the French Agency for Biodiversity, and officials are pursuing animal trafficking charges against the suspects.

The subspecies of tiger is critically endangered and is only found in the wild in Sumatra, Indonesia, after being wiped out from other Sunda islands, according to the World Wildlife Fund. There are believed to be fewer than 400 of the tigers left on the planet, and deforestation and poaching threaten to make the species go extinct altogether.