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Bizarre discovery in Germany


FOUR PAWS provides sanctuary for cub that is victim of Europe’s trade in wild cats

Cape Town, 31.01.2019 – Shortly before Christmas 2018, authorities discovered and confiscated a male puma cub in a private apartment in the German city of Lahr. The then two-month-old exotic pet was legally bought in the Czech Republic but illegally smuggled into Germany. The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has taken the cub named Tikam into its care and will place him – after his quarantine stay – in its Animal and Species Protection Centre TIERART in Massweiler. Tikam's sad case is yet another example of how Europe’s legal trade in tigers and other cat species overlaps with illegal activity which FOUR PAWS aims to stop through its campaign calling for a ban on commercial trade.


The owner of the property where the puma was being kept drew the attention of the authorities to the unusual pet. The young puma was purchased from a Czech breeder for 2,300 Euros and brought to Germany by car. The buyer, however, had no permit to keep the puma, or export and import documents to take it from the Czech Republic and into Germany. Furthermore, it was revealed that the animal’s papers showing its vaccination record and origin were switched.

“Keeping a puma in a small apartment is not only absolute animal cruelty, but also dangerous for the owners and neighbours. What looks small and cute now will later develop into a predator weighing up to 100 kilos. In addition, it was extremely concerning that Tikam didn’t have a record of rabies vaccination, so we had to quarantine him immediately and have him vaccinated to avoid a potential risk of infection,” says Florian Eiserlo, site manager of FOUR PAWS Animal and Species Protection Centre TIERART. There, the young puma will find a new, species-appropriate home after his quarantine period. It is not possible to release the puma into the wild, as Tikam was solely exposed to human contact and would not be able to survive in the wild.


Says Fiona Miles, FOUR PAWS South Africa country director: “It is a grave concern to see the trend of keeping wild animals as pets continue. Time after time private owners run into trouble when these animals grow to their full size, and this shouldn’t be allowed to continue. It is our responsibility as humans to take the necessary action against this cruelty.”


EU a paradise for illegal wildlife smuggling

Tikam’s story is yet another bizarre example of how easy it is to purchase exotic wildlife in EU countries and smuggle them into other EU countries. This is due to insufficient controls and inadequate legislation in the EU. “More and more wild animals are being found in questionable environments in the heart of Europe. Our latest research shows that many big cats – especially tigers – are legally bred within the EU and sold to private individuals, dubious zoos or to Asia. Tigers are even slaughtered directly in Europe and their body parts are later processed for traditional medicine. Bones, teeth, skin and claws make a lot of money on the black market - trading big cats is a lucrative business,” says Kieran Harkin, Head of Wild Animal Campaigns at FOUR PAWS.


Putting an end to the big cat trade

Since the breeding and trading of tigers is legal in many EU countries, the region has developed into a hub for the trade of big cats, especially tigers and tiger products. “There isn’t a lot of up to date information on how many wild and big cats are kept in countries like Germany and nobody really knows how many big cats are kept in living rooms or backyards. The current legal situation is beyond deficient and leads to the fact that countless numbers of animals are kept in absolutely inappropriate circumstances. Moreover, the amateur handling and attitude towards wild animals are also a danger for other humans and animals,” says Harkin. FOUR PAWS therefore calls on the European Commission to introduce stricter regulations and to ban commercial trade of tigers and other cat species once and for all.


FOUR PAWS has launched a petition to call on the European Commission to permanently ban commercial trade in tigers in order to protect the endangered species from cruel exploitation:

Bisarre ontdekking in Duitsland: Poema in woonstel gekry

Kaapstad, 31.01.2019 – Owerhede in Duitsland het kort voor Kersfees 2018 ’n poema-welpie in privaatbesit in 'n woonstel ontdek en gekonfiskeer. Die internasionale dierewelsynsorganisasie FOUR PAWS het die welpie genaamd Tikam in sy sorg geneem en sal hom eersdaags, ná ‘n periode in kwarantyn, na sy TIERART-toevlugsoord in Massweiler, Duitsland, verskuif. Hierdie is nóg 'n voorval wat toon dat die wettige handel van tiere in Europa met onwettige praktyke oorvleuel – en FOUR PAWS beoog met sy veltog om die handel van hierdie diere te keer.


Die jong poema, wat by ’n Tsjeggiese teler vir 2300 euro gekoop is, is onwettig van die Tsjeggië na Duitsland vervoer sonder die nodig in- en uitvoerdokumentasie en sonder die nodige vervoerpermitte. Die eienaar van die eiendom waar die poema aangehou is, het die owerhede in kennis gestel van die ongewone “troeteldier" wat hy in sy gebou gesien het.


“Om ‘n poema in ’n klein woonstel aan te hou is nie net wreed nie, maar gevaarlik vir die eienaar en die bure. Die dier lyk dalk nou klein en oulik, maar ontwikkel later in ‘n roofdier met ’n natuurlike instink om te jag. Hulle weeg dan tot 100 kg. Wat veral kommerwekkend is, is dat Tikam geen rekord van inentings teen hondsdolheid het nie, en daarom moes ons hom dadelik in kwarantyn plaas," sê Florian Eiserlo,  terreinbestuurder van TIERART. Tikam sal hier die res van sy lewe deurbring, omdat hy nie weer in die wild vrygelaat kan word nie weens sy blootstelling wat slegs met mense plaasgevind het.


Fiona Miles, direkteur van FOUR PAWS in Suid-Afrika sê wilde diere wat in privaatbesit aangehou word, moet stopgesit word.


“Dit is kommerwekkend om te sien dat die tendens voortduur en dat mense dink hulle kan wilde diere as troeteldiere aanhou. Keer na keer sien ons hoe die eienaars van hierdie diere skarrel om van hulle ontslae te raak, omdat hulle nie meer oulik en hanteerbaar is nie. Hierdie praktyk is bisar en dis ons verantwoordelikheid as die mensdom om te keer dat dit gebeur," sê Miles.


EU ‘n paradys vir onwettige smokkelary

Tikam se storie is net nóg ‘n voorbeeld van hoe maklik dit is om eksotiese diere in EU-lande te koop en na ander lande in die EU te smokkel. Dit is weens nie genoegsame beheer en onvoldoende wetgewin in die EU.


“Meer en meer wilde diere word in bedenklike omgewings in die hartjie van die EU gekry. Ons jongste navorsig toon dat grootkatte – veral tiere – wettig binne die EU geteel en dan aan privaateienaars, onbehoorlike dieretuine of Asië verkoop word. Tiere word sommer hier in Europa geslag en hul liggaamsdele later verwerk om tradisionele medisyne te brou. Bene, tande, vel en pote maak goed geld op die swartmark verkoop. Die handel in dié diere is ’n winsgewende bedryf," sê Kieran Harkin, hoof van FOUR PAWS se Veltog-afdeling vir Wilde Diere.


‘n Einde aan handel

Omdat die teel en handel van diere in talle EU-lande wettig is, het die gebied as ‘n kern vir die handel van tiere en tierprodukte geword.


“Daar is nie baie inligting wat op datum is oor hoeveel wilde grootkatte in lande soos Duitsland aangehou word nie, en niemand weet regtig hoeveel van hulle in sitkamers of agterplase aangehou word nie. Die wetlike situasie het ‘n ernstige gebrek en lei tot daartoe dat talle diere in ongeskikte omstandighede aangehou word. Mense se amateur hantering en gesindheid teenoor die diere is ook ‘n gevaar vir mense en ander diere," sê Harkin.


FOUR PAWS doen daarom ‘n beroep op die Europese Kommissie om strenger regulasies in te stel en die kommersiële handel van tiere vir eens en altyd stop te sit.


FOUR PAWS het ‘n petisie begin wat al deur 170 000 mense geteken is.