Investigation into the hidden trade of tigers in Italy


Investigation into the hidden trade of tigers in Italy

6 May 2022
A new investigation from LAV has revealed that Italy is a leader in Europe in the trade and breeding of tigers, with an estimate of 85% of the existing big cats on the continent.

Tigers are severely endangered, currently reduced to about 12,000 individuals worldwide. Of these, only 3,900 are in their natural environment, while the remaining 8,100 are held in captivity.

Italy has no restriction on the reproduction of tigers and other big cats in captivity for sale, transfer, or rental.

The current regulatory system leaves circus and travelling entertainment companies free, or with very few prohibitions, to breed almost any type of animal, and to rent, sell, lend, hold them in cages and much more. However the draft law on wild and exotic animals, that was recently approved by the Italian Council of Ministers, must introduce a positive list of animals allowed to be kept as pets and strongly regulate the trade and keeping of these animals.

After discovering the plight of several tigers featured in the investigation, LAV immediately contacted AAP, which decided to start an animal recovery operation. AAP was able to move five tigers (Softi, Toph, Aqua, Merida, and Sanson) to their Primadomus rescue centre located in Villena, Spain. The tigers are fully recovering, thanks to the work of AAP's dedicated staff.