Fancy owning a tiger? An Italy-based website that claims to give you options to buy the 'most fashionable animal' has sparked concern amongst animal rights organisations and Wildlife officials who have begun a probe into the advertisement.
"We chanced upon this website that claims to sell tigers that have been bred in India," Jayasimha, a functionary of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals told PTI.
The website advertises that it is the only one in the world, which has been breeding tigers in India and shipping them worldwide since 1984. It offers 'a five-month-old tigress at a cost of $13,400 (about Rs 6.1 lakh), and comes with an 'ivory collar', three 'tiger toys' and a guide.
Buyers are informed that the site does not trade in Siberian white tigers and does not ship tigers to places that are not conducive to their climate needs. Also they do not sell more than one tiger to a single customer as they point out that two tigers should not stay together for their safety.
"We have written letters to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, CITES and the French government bringing to their notice the claims of the website buytigers.com, which says it sells five-month-old female tigers," says Sachin B of Peta.
The Peta letter claimed that the website says: "It was a dream until yesterday, now it's true. Directly from our India breeding, we give you the possibility to buy a tiger online and without any trouble."
The animal welfare body says it has urged the government to 'investigate the matter and take appropriate steps to prevent trade of these animals as tigers are protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.'
When contacted, Reena Mitra, Additional Director, Wildife Crime Control, says: "The Ministry of Environment and WCCB has got the letter and we are examining it. We cannot disclose the course of action, but suitable action will be taken."
Till date trade in wildlife is the third amongst the list of illegal trade activities. It follows the illegal trade in Narcotics and Drugs and arms and ammunition which occupy the first and second places. The tiger is a protected animal and under the wildlife protection Act of 1972 it is a crime to trade the national animal and is a punishable offence.
Sources who work for animal welfare say, "Tigers are not the only animals who are being traded. Type a search on the Internet for any kind of animal and you will find many dozens of websites which sell lot of animals."