10/02/2007 18:15 – (SA)
Nice France – Thieves have stolen a three-month-old 12kg tiger from a zoo at Frejus in southern France and keepers worry he could be turned loose into surrounding countryside and run wild, they said on Saturday.
Kouma was stolen last Wednesday when intruders broke in overnight into an enclosure in the zoo’s nursery section, the management said. Police have begun a local tiger hunt.
Keepers worry about both Kouma’s personal welfare and possible dangers to the local community if his kidnappers return him to a natural habitat.
“He’s very young animal and won’t eat anything but a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of hashed meat and has to be bottle-fed three times daily,” said deputy zoo manager Habib Nafati.
“I’m worried he may have been stolen by youngsters who’ll play around with him then release him into the open where he’ll run wild,” he warned.
By the age of six months, three months from now, Kouma is expected to weigh 50kg (110 pounds.)