SUNGAI PETANI: It's fine to keep pets but having a fully-grown tiger as one may be taking things a bit too far.
Oil palm plantation owner Zaitun Arshad from Bukit Selambau near here caught a male tiger in a trap two weeks ago and has since kept it in a cage in the compound of his house.
The tiger, which he calls Charlie, weighs about 200kg, about 1.5m in length and stands at one metre.
“My love for tigers made me trap it and bring it home in my car from the jungle,” said Zaitun at his house in Taman Chempaka yesterday morning.
He added that his interest in tigers grew after seeing his brother, a zookeeper, attend to the animals.
Zaitun, 50, who has no professional skills in handling a tiger, said he talked to the cat to subdue it.
“It obeys my command now and likes to play with me. But I have it chained all the time and keep it in a cage in my compound,” he added, saying he had applied to the state Wildlife and National Parks Department for a licence to keep the tiger.
Zaitun feeds Charlie chickens every day – two in the afternoon and two at night – and takes it for walks in his enclosed compound.
State Wildlife and National Parks Department director Azmi Johor said he had yet to receive an application from Zaitun.
“It is against the law to keep a protected species. So far, we have not issued any permit to individuals to rear tigers in their homes,'' he said.
He added that it was an offence under Section 64A of the Wildlife Protection Act to rear, hunt or kill tigers and offenders were liable to a RM15,000 fine or five years’ jail, or both, upon conviction.