Nine of 10 malnourished and neglected tigers shipped from Italy and bound for Russia are recovering in Poland after Belarus stopped them from crossing the border for lack of proper paperwork.
A Polish zoo and wildlife sanctuary took in the “exhausted, starving, covered in their own feces” tigers Wednesday, days after Belarussian officials held up their truck. The 10th tiger was reported to have died.
Polish prosecutors have charged two Italian truck drivers with animal abuse, Agence France Presse reported Monday. A Russian citizen identified by Russian media as livestock specialist Renat Vakhitov was charged with animal abuse last week, AFP reported.
The suspects left Rome with the tigers on Oct. 22, crossing at least three international borders before their journey ended on the Polish-Belarussian border days later.
A Russian petting zoo employee had allegedly volunteered to take the tigers from their owner in Italy and bring them to the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, the zoo director said. Irina Kulikovskaya, the zoo director, told the Vzglyad business website Friday that it plans to sue Belarus over the tiger’s death.
The nine tigers will reportedly head to an animal reserve in Spain after receiving transportation documents.