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Parliamentary questions
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12 November 2019
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Petras Auštrevičius
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Illegal trade in tigers in Lithuania and across Europe

In 2018, breeders involved in the commercial trade in tigers and tiger parts were arrested in Czechia, which subsequently suspended all exports of tigers to non-EU countries. Several Member States are dealing with large numbers of captive tigers and overlapping legal and illegal trade activities. The Lithuanian media recently reported on a zookeeper in Lithuania confirming on undercover footage that he is able to transport big cats through Latvia, Belgium, Spain, Czechia or Poland and can supply to the UK, Romania and Asia. He mentions how he manipulates official papers, e.g. recording that cubs were born at an earlier date to enable him to trade sooner, or registering a puma as a Bengal cat because keeping pumas is illegal in Italy, and how he traffics wild animals illegally from Africa into Europe via Spain.

Is the Commission aware of the illegal trade in tigers taking place across Europe? Is the Commission aware that the lack of an overview of tiger numbers in the Member States means that the legal trade can easily provide a cover for illegal trade activities? Given the large numbers of captive tigers and illegal trade activities in different Member States, does the Commission envisage issuing EU guidance to restrict the commercial trade in captive tigers?

Original language of question: LT
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