Man arrested in France for keeping white tiger cub

Marseille (AFP) –


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.

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.