SINGAPORE: Somewhere in Singapore, two private-estate owners are keeping a tiger and a bear as pets. And the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) is determined to hunt them down.

The Society has received four tip-offs about a full-grown tiger being kept in the basement of a house in the vicinity of Sixth Avenue and a caged Malayan sun bear in a house around the Mandai area.

Now, Acres is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information leading to the successful confiscation of either animal.

The people who tipped Acres off were the owners’ friends who have “seen the animals around”.

“But they are unwilling to give us the exact address as they do not want their friends to get into trouble,” said president of Acres Louis Ng.

The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said it had also heard from a few sources about someone who has been keeping a tiger for 10 years, but was unable to proceed with investigations without specific information.

AVA views the illegal keeping of dangerous wild animals seriously and urges anyone with information to contact AVA immediately, as these wild animals may endanger their owners, neighbours and the public.

“They may attack and kill humans even without provocation. They are wild and not suitable to be kept as pets,” said the head of AVA’s Wildlife Regulatory Branch, Ms Lye Fong Keng.

Acres is also concerned about the welfare of the tiger and sun bear as it is impossible to house wild animals in optimal conditions in captivity.

“The guy who tipped us off said his friend’s bear was well-kept in a cage. It can’t possibly be well-kept because these Malayan sun bears, being good climbers, are supposed to be sleeping in trees,” said Mr Ng.

A person found to possess an illegal Cites specimen may be fined up to $5,000 ($10,000 for a repeat offender) and/or jailed up to a year.

A person who keeps a wild animal without a licence from AVA can also be charged under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, which carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 per animal.

Anyone with information can call the Acres Wildlife Crime Hotline at 9783 7782 or AVA at 6227 0670. – TODAY

(This is from TodayOnline’s archive. It was first published in 2004)

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