At the Beirut Airport in Lebanon, a wooden unmarked box sat for seven days before it was finally opened. Inside the 26-inch box was a discovery that shocked airport employees and immediately sent them into action to save the lives of its contents.
The contents of the box were alive, but suffering.
Inside were three endangered Siberian tiger cubs; starved, covered in their own feces and urine, dehydrated, and covered with maggots that numbered well over a hundred.
The Siberian tiger is an endangered species mainly found in the Sikhote Alin mountain region in south-west Primorye Province in the Russian Far East. They are too often victims of poaching and illegal trade.
Shipped from one zoo to another…
The tiger cubs, it was learned, had been shipped from the Nikolaev Zoo in Ukraine to the Samer al-Husainawi Zoo in Damascus, Syria.
Unfortunately, the mistreatment of exotic animals such as these beautiful Siberian tigers is all too common, and the animals were not transported in a humane manner. When AL discovered what had happened, they immediately put a plan in place to confiscate the tigers from their owners.
Then Animals Lebanon came to the rescue.
Fortunately, the discovery was made in Lebanon, where cruelty to animals is a crime and groups like AL exist. The cubs are now safe and being well cared for by the organization and getting healthier by the day.
“Big cats can be worth tens of thousands of dollars on the black market,” wrote Animals Lebanon in their Facebook post. “The owner is fighting to get them back.”
That won’t happen without a battle, it appears. Executive Director of AL, Jason Mier, said they are not returning the animals to either zoo. According to an organization called TigerTime – Save The Tigers, Mier stated “they alerted the authorities as soon as they knew about the shipment and secured a judicial order to have the tigers released.”
“The charity worked with Lebanon’s Ministry of Agriculture and customs, plus airport security, to discover and release the cubs. After seven days at Beirut Airport the tigers’ box had become infested with maggots,” he said.
“Once we finally got them out of the box, the box had dozens and dozens of maggots crawling around in it. There were maggots all over the back thighs of the animals,” said Mier.
Mier also said, “The unmarked container and condition of shipment did not meet the standards of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and that any documentation should not have been accepted.”
Lebanon, incidentally, partners with CITES to encourage legislation protecting against wildlife trafficking.
AL did clarify that the tiger cubs, while being held at the airport, “were visited by a representative of the importing zoo for around 15 minutes each day before being rescued.”
Mier did say that the future of the tiger cubs, at this point, is still not known. Depending on that outcome, they may be returned to the zoo that shipped them, and possibly sold on the black market. AL is making every effort to ensure that does not happen.
You can help.
To support their case, visit the Animals Lebanon website. Among other things, according to their website, AL is seeking to end “the illegal trade of endangered species and their products.” They further state, that this “is a billion dollar industry and frequently involves money laundering, fraud, counterfeiting, and violence.”
Watch the video below:
Source: Mysterious Box Sat At The Airport For 7 Days Until Someone Finally Helped The Animals Trapped Inside (UPDATED) from boredpanda.com.