AN ALBINO tiger locked in a cage next to the swimming pool of an Alicante residence has raised alarm bells among municipal law enforcement.

Alicante Town Hall released a photograph of the tiger with a statement saying Policía Local, Seprona and the Department of Health were ‘checking’ if the owner – in the Rebolledo area – possessed appropriate licences.

The statement added albino tigers are ‘extinct’ in the wild and only ‘twenty’ exist in the whole world.

“Alicante, with this exceptional specimen in private hands, has become part of the few enclaves in Europe that have one of these wild oddities,” the statement said.

“But the Department of Health assumes these wild beasts must live in their natural habitats, since their trade is driving their extinction.”

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Police and the Department of Health are now investigating if the owner lacks the ‘documentation, permits, insurance and other requirements concerning the possession of a dangerous species’.

Spain’s Ley 42/2007 prohibits ownership of a list of animals deemed either invasive or critically endangered.

However, only indigenous Iberian animals at risk of extinction – not foreign animals such as tigers – are illegal to own as pets.

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Owners of dangerous pets, such as dogs, are required to possess both licences and insurance of ‘no less than €120,000’, according to Spain’s Real Decreto 287/2002.

Lacking any special precautions for tigers, however, in theory it is easier to possess a licence for a tiger than for a Staffordshire Terrier.

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