The French newspaper Le Monde reported that between 1,200 to 1,500 tigers live in private homes in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, reports Al-Qabas daily.
The daily said the animals were caught from the jungles of Africa and smuggled illegally to these Gulf countries. Each animal was sold for about $15,000, according to Le Monde.
The French paper added, several non-governmental organizations have reported that one-third of the smuggled animals are fed cat food or sweets. Patricia Trekurach, a leading anti-smuggling leader in the tiger conservation fund, said that between 2012 and 2017, the fund has counted 1,367 tigers, which were offered for sale in the Gulf, or 20 percent of the number of tigers living in the wild.
Le Monde said the acquisition of the tigers has become a popular trend in Kuwait and the UAE and is no longer confined to the rich. “It’s not uncommon to see a tiger walking around a street or getting his head out of a car window,” the paper said. Responding to the assertions of the Le Monde newspaper that there were Kuwaiti accounts on social networking sites that confirmed the possession of predatory animals in Kuwaitis an unidentified official said: “They sent me links and I will turn them to justice.”