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Girl walks her pet tiger in Guasave. Girl walks her pet tiger in Guasave.

Girl takes tiger for a walk in ‘crazy’ Guasave, Sinaloa

Such animals are supposed to be kept confined

A video of a girl walking a tiger cub on the streets of Guasava, Sinaloa, has drawn some attention on social media. 

The footage filmed from inside a pickup truck shows a girl clad in shorts and a t-shirt walking the tiger on a rope leash. “Look, crazy Guasave. People go out for a walk with a tiger,” the man is heard saying as he approaches in his vehicle. 

He asks after her father as he films, and in their brief conversation she indicates that she has another tiger at home. 

Last month a woman was photographed walking her pet tiger in Mexico City’s wealthy Polanco district, causing a buzz on Twitter.

The owner fired back on social media, pointing out that the animal is not a Bengal tiger and that owning an exotic species is legal in Mexico if the owner meets with requirements set by environmental officials.

Exotic animal owners must obtain approval from the Ministry of the Environment (Semarnat), must prove the animal was born in captivity and that the animal will be confined under conditions that guarantee the safety of the public. The owner must also show respect to the animal.

Not everyone is up to the task of taking care of an exotic animal like a tiger. Guillermo Herrera, a parks and wildlife official in Nuevo León, says that people who own exotic pets must be able to provide the animals “with correct facilities and adequate knowledge of their diet and its maintenance. Unfortunately, the [exotic animal dealers] do not pay attention to this and sell to anyone without knowing if they meet these requirements.”

Although Mexican law does not prohibit the purchase of exotic animals, it does prohibit someone from taking their tiger out for a stroll around the neighborhood. “Animals cannot be exhibited on the street, they have to be in a confined site because they are exotic and dangerous. The law says that they have to be totally confined with no possibility of escape to guarantee the safety of civil society,” said Herrera. “The more contact it has with humans, the more dangerous that animal will be.”

In October 2018, authorities seized three Bengal tigers, a lion, 23 turtles, a lemur and a crocodile from a home in Hermosillo, Sonora, after a 7-year-old girl was attacked by one of the tigers. The owner said he was planning on establishing a private zoo.  

Source: El Heraldo de México (sp)

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