Cat burglars stole three big cats: a tiger, jaguar and leopard worth £100,000, in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Police are hunting the gang. The cats were probably stolen to order. Their high value appears to be based on their rarity as they were tamed to behave like pets. The tiger was particularly rare the owner, Ibrahim Al Osaimi, 54, says. He is a wildlife enthusiast who owns and manages a breeding farm. Breeding big cats as pets is immoral in my opinion.
In Saudi pet big cats are popular amongst the very wealthy. It is believe they were stolen for another billionaire. The gang smashed security cameras, disabled the alarm and sedated the cats with a dart gun (syringes were found at the scene). Dart gun sedation of big cats is tricky and requires considerable skill to get the dose correct. Too much and you can kill the cat. This happened to a puma not long ago in the US.
For me there is the faintest possibility that they were stolen to be eaten. This sounds ridiculous but if a wealthy Chinese in China wanted to eat a tiger then £100,000 is not a lot. I wonder how much they pay to smuggle Bengal tigers from India poached from the reserves. I’d bet it is a similar sum of money.
The photo is by Edward Musiak (except for the writing which I added)