By Kevin Heath
Police in Muang District, Thailand, found 4 tigers in baskets in the back of a car on Wednesday. The tigers were aged between 2 and 3 years old and had been drugged. Officials think that the tigers had been bred on an illegal tiger farm and were being transported to Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
The tigers were found in the back of a sedan car with Bangkok registration plates. The car had been parked in public and aroused suspicion. A local villager saw a man get out the car and run to a truck which then drove off. The villagers checked the car and saw the tigers and called the police. When police arrived and inspected that car they found the four tigers in sleeping in large plastic baskets in the back of the car.
Local police think that the tigers may have come from one of a number of illegal tiger farms in either the south or east of Muang. It was also likely that the tigers were heading towards Laos as the big cats are a popular pet for high ranking officials and rich business people.
A forestry department expert who examined the tigers said it was highly likely that they were captive-bred because of the condition of their paws and that they were comfortable being around humans.
Paponwat Chaiarkarapong, from the forestry department explained, “They must have been raised in a farm as they showed no signs of anxiety around humans. Also their claws had been removed.”
The tigers have now been taken to Phu Khieu Wildlife Conservation Center where they will be trained and prepared for a life in the wild.