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Tunisian officials intercept smuggled white tiger cubs

Tunisian officials intercept smuggled white tiger cubs

Tunisia

<p><strong>Tunisian officials uncovered four white tiger cubs being smuggled across the border to Libya, the customs department said Saturday.</strong></p> <p>The cubs were found hidden in the car of a Libyan driver at the southern Ras Jedir border post, a statement by Tunisian customs said.</p> <p>According to Tunisian authorities, the Libyan said he “bought the tigers in a private zoo” in the eastern Enfidha region.</p> <p>The zoo where the Libyan claimed to have bought the cubs announced the birth of tigers around two months ago.</p> <p>“But he did not have documents with him proving the purchase and he did not have the necessary authorisations to leave Tunisian territory,” the customs department said.</p> <p>White tigers and lions are extremely rare, with only a few hundred worldwide, and owe their appearance to a recessive gene.</p> <p>The World Wildlife Fund (<span class="caps">WWF</span>) estimates that the number of wild tigers has plunged from 100,000 in 1900 to around 3,900 today.</p> <p>Numbers have edged back up in recent years but the species is still vulnerable to extinction, the <span class="caps">WWF</span> says.</p> <p>The cubs seized in Tunisia were handed over to a department within the Ministry of Agriculture in the country’s southern Medenine province.</p> <p>A judicial investigation has been opened into the driver, Tunisian officials said, although he was not immediately arrested.</p>

But he did not have documents with him proving the purchase and he did not have the necessary authorisations to leave Tunisian territory.

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