Three officials from Qingdao, Shandong province were busted for keeping eight endangered Siberian tigers as pets after one jumped to its death from the top of an 11-story building.
According to the South China Morning Post, the three men, who are members of the People’s Congress in the city, were each fined 3,000 yuan ($480).
Last month, Shanghaiist reported on a tiger cub which had leapt to its death in Qingdao during Chinese New Year celebrations after being frightened by nearby residents setting off fireworks. A local businessman named Yang Wenzheng had kept the cub, along with another young tiger, on the roof of a building he owned.
Today it emerges that Yang was helping a friend, Cui Jinguang, who was the manager of a mountain park and could not afford the cost of the tigers in his care. Two were given to Yang, while Cui kept an adult and baby tiger for himself. Another friend, Zhang Fucai, was also asked to raise an adult tiger and three cubs.
The men were fined as they did not possess the required licence to keep the animals. Two members of the local forestry bureau have also been sacked for dereliction of duty. The seven surviving tigers, classified by the WWF as an endangered species, have been seized by authorities and hopefully are being well cared for.
Siberian tigers often have a pretty rough time in China. Last year, photos emerged online of an incredibly ill looking tiger being kept in dubious conditions at Tianjin zoo. Further back in 2013, a zoo in Changsha was condemned by netizens for allowing visitors to play tug-of-war with one of its resident Siberian tigers.
By Dominic Jackson