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The unnamed couple, who live in Le Havre, forked out 'several thousand euros' for a Savannah cat after spotting an advert online, but got more than then they bargained for when they were given a baby tiger.
A Savannah cat is a cross between a wild serval cat and a domestic cat. They are legal to own in France - whereas tigers are not legally allowed and are protected by the CITES treaty meaning they cannot even be transported without the proper paperwork.
The 2018 incident started after the couple made a deal with the seller to hand over €6,000 (£5,484) for the 'kitten' upon arrival. But when the seller turned up, they were carrying a three-month old Indonesia tiger, something which appeared to go unnoticed by the buyers.
Despite looking markedly different, the couple told police they were unaware they had been given a tiger cub for a few days and once they suspected something was wrong, they called the cops who then launched an investigation.
The tiger, which is a Sumatran tiger, is a protected species and cannot be kept as a pet.
Police said they were initially unclear where the animal came from but say it had been in various selfies and even appeared in a rap video filmed in Normandy.
The investigation, from the Regional Intervention Group of the National Police and the Departmental Security, has now drawn to a close after two years.
Police said a total of nine people have been arrested, including the couple who bought the big cat, on charges related to trafficking a protected species. Others are also facing charges related to organised crime.
According to France Bleu, the tiger was in good health when it was rescued and was handed over to the French Biodiversity Office, before it was eventually given a new home although it was not revealed where this was.
Last year, a woman from Malaysia was arrested after she was found to have a rare bear in her flat, thinking it was a rescue dog.
Zarith Sofia Yasin was arrested after it was discovered that she had been keeping the baby sun bear in her Kuala Lumpur home.
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