White tiger seized at house in southeast France

Investigators in southeast France have seized a white tiger cub at the home of a suspected exotic animal trafficker, while pythons and endangered marsupials were found at his mother's house, a police source said Saturday.

White tiger seized at house in southeast France
The tiger, called Hermes, was taken to Barben zoo. Photo: Ho / Gendarmerie National/AFP
Members of the public health agency OCLAESP were recently informed of the illegal sale of lemurs and their investigations led them to the suspect's premises.
The arrested man is believed to have cashed the sum of 17,000 euros ($19,000) “but had not yet handed the small primates from Madagascar to the buyer,” the French police said in a statement.
A raid on his home uncovered the white tiger cub, while a simultaneous operation at the home of the suspect's mother in northeast France uncovered four sugar gliders — small, nocturnal marsupials native to part of Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea — as well as nine snakes including two royal pythons.
Appearing before a judge, the arrested man was immediately jailed for eight months in connection with an earlier fraud case.
Illegal trafficking in wild animals is punishable in France by a year in prison and a 15,000 euro fine.
The baby tiger, now called Hermes, was taken to the Barben zoo in southeast France.
White tigers are not a separate subspecies. The white fur is a rare genetic mutation which is mainly seen among animals inbred in captivity.

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Paris authorities to shut down bird market over cruelty concerns

The Paris city council on Wednesday agreed to shut down a live bird market operating in the historic centre close to Notre Dame cathedral, responding to rights activists who called it a cruel and archaic operation.

Paris authorities to shut down bird market over cruelty concerns
Photo: AFP

The bird market on Louis Lepine square in the centre of the French capital has long been a fixture in Paris, operating close to the famous flower market.

But Christophe Najdovski, Paris' deputy mayor in charge of animal welfare, said that the market was a centre for bird trafficking in France while conditions for the birds were not acceptable.

“This is why we are committed to changing the regulations to ban the sale of birds and other animals,” he said.

The closure had been urged by activists from the Paris Animals Zoopolis collective who had called the practice of showing the caged birds “cruel and archaic”.

France and Paris have in the last months adopted a series of measures aiming to show they are at the forefront of efforts to protect animal welfare.

The government said in September it planned to “gradually” ban mink farms as well the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and dolphins and orcas in theme parks.

Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, announced last month it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium.