French couple pay thousands for Savannah cat but get a TIGER instead

French couple pay thousands of pounds for a stripy Savannah cat only to find out they had been sold a baby TIGER instead

  • Pair, of Le Havre, Normandy, paid 6,000 euros (£5,450) for animal upon delivery
  • They failed to notice for several days it wasn’t a Savannah cat – cross between wild Serval and domestic cat – but a three-month-old Sumatran tiger cub
  • The tiger is an endangered species and is not classed as an acceptable pet
  • Two-year investigation has led to nine arrests, including the unidentified victim couple, for trafficking protected species 

A French couple who bought a ‘Savannah cat’ for 6,000 euros (£5,450) were shocked after they were given a tiger cub instead. 

The unidentified pair, from the port city of Le Havre, Normandy, paid for the kitten upon delivery after spotting an online ad.

However, they failed to notice for a few days that rather than being a Savannah – a cross between a wild Serval and a domestic cat – it was, in fact, a Sumatran tiger, and contacted the police.

While a Savannah is listed as an acceptable pet, the tiger is not – and is protected by the CITES treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which means it cannot even be transported without paperwork. 

A French couple who bought a ‘Savannah cat’ for 6,000 euros (£5,450) were shocked after they were given a tiger cub instead. The unidentified pair, from the port city of Le Havre, Normandy, paid for the kitten upon delivery after spotting an online ad. (Above, stock image of a Savannah cat)

The pair failed to notice for a few days that rather than being a Savannah - a cross between a wild Serval and a domestic cat - it was, in fact, a Sumatran tiger, and contacted the police. (Above, stock image of a Sumatran tiger)

The pair failed to notice for a few days that rather than being a Savannah – a cross between a wild Serval and a domestic cat – it was, in fact, a Sumatran tiger, and contacted the police. (Above, stock image of a Sumatran tiger)

Details of the case emerged after prosecutors prepared a report released this week – two years after the tiger was seized.

Nine suspects have been arrested, including the original victim couple, for trafficking in a protected species. Others are facing charges of being involved in organised crime.

When the couple ordered the animal through a vendor they found online, a deal was agreed for payment on delivery.

But the seller turned up with a three-month-old tiger native to Indonesia, in September 2018, according the couple.

Despite the obvious differences, the pair claimed they did not realise they had a tiger cub for a few days, at which point they immediately called the authorities. 

While a Savannah is listed as an acceptable pet, the tiger is not - and is protected by the CITES treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which means it cannot even be transported without paperwork. (Pictured, a Sumatran tiger and her cub)

While a Savannah is listed as an acceptable pet, the tiger is not – and is protected by the CITES treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which means it cannot even be transported without paperwork. (Pictured, a Sumatran tiger and her cub)

The tiger in question is a Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica), a protected species and prohibited for private ownership.

Police were initially unclear as to where the tiger came from.

However, it had turned up in the Normandy region – on selfies in Elbeuf and even in a rap video filmed in Petit-Quevilly in the Seine-Maritime department.

The investigation, by the Regional Intervention Group of the National Police and the Departmental Security, has now finally been completed.

The tiger appeared to be in good health, according to France Bleu, and was entrusted to the French Biodiversity Office and eventually given a new home, although the location was not revealed.

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