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cartel tigers seized in Guerrero, Mexico The tigers around the time of the arrest on February 15. Photos by FGE Guerrero

3 Bengal tigers die of starvation after being seized by authorities

The animals, confiscated from an alleged cartel member, may have been used to dispose of bodies

Three Bengal tigers under the responsibility of federal and state authorities have died of starvation in a cage in Guerrero.

The tigers went for days without food or water after the authorities failed to collect them from a house in Quechultenango, 40 kilometers east of the state capital Chilpancingo.

The felines were seized in an anti-drug-trafficking security operation that started on February 15 in Chilapa de Álvarez, 45 kilometers north of Quechultenango. Soldiers, agents from the state Attorney General’s Office and National Guardsmen arrested an alleged member of the Los Ardillos cartel, seized the tigers, 28 kilograms of marijuana, 11 vehicles, a stolen motorcycle and a gun.

According to some authorities, tigers are used by cartels to devour the corpses of their victims.

However, the security forces were prevented from leaving the area with the tigers and the seized items when they were detained by citizens for six hours. They were freed after signing an agreement saying that they would have to be accompanied by municipal police and the community police force in future security operations.

Guerrero, Mexico, cartel seizure
At the time of the arrest, authorities also confiscated 28 kilograms of marijuana, stolen cars and auto parts.

Twenty-four hours after the forces were freed, the Guerrero Attorney General’s Office said “the three tigers were under the responsibility of the competent authority,” which would mean the Environment Ministry or the federal environmental protection agency Profepa, the newspaper Milenio reported.

However, “they never came to pick them up. They locked everything … no one fed the animals, and in the end they died of hunger,” one citizen from Quechultenango told Milenio.

Ángel Almazán Juárez of the Guerrero Environment Ministry (Semaren) pointed the finger at the state Attorney General’s Office (FGE).

“I would like to give more information, but the reality is that Semaren does not know the whereabouts of those three felines. The FGE didn’t inform us of anything,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Guanajuato, a tiger on the loose appears to be thriving. It has been at large in Apaseo el Grande since December, although the mayor waited until February 19 to issue a warning after 16 cattle had already been attacked.

With reports from Milenio and Infobae

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