Illegal tiger farms have been found operating in the Czech Republic and experts suspect other countries also house such facilities. An investigation, called Operation Trophy according to Science Alert, led authorities to a facility with freezers full of rotting carcasses of the world’s big cats, tigers, lions, and cougars.
As reported by the Guardian earlier this week, Czech authorities have accused members of an alleged crime group of EU and Vietnamese nationals of trading animal products made from species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. They allegedly sold tiger stock used in traditional Chinese medicine for almost $100 a litter as well as tiger’s skin for $2,000, Czech authorities reported back in July.
The popularity of the products was spurred on by traditional medicine users and small zoos that allow young children to play with baby animals, including big cats. Once the animals reached a certain age they’d be sold to these groups.
“I have been working for the inspectorate 25 years… but the situation there was really horrible. If you can imagine: an old freezer, without electricity, full of meat and dead bodies, in the garden for two years. Absolutely incredible,” said Pavla Rihova, lead environmental inspector during the raid, according to the Guardian.