Wednesday 28 July 2021

Ferry operator had no idea that there was a tiger on board with passengers

NEWS AND VIEWS: A Croatian ferry operator, operating between the Croatian island of Hvar in the coastal city of Split had no idea that a customer was transporting an adult Bengal tiger in the hold where there were cars and passengers. 

Tiger on ferry in Croatia
Tiger on ferry in Croatia. Screenshot.

It called into question the animal welfare laws of Croatia and/or enforcement or non-enforcement. The Animal Friends Association criticised the ferry operator and said that the incident symbolised "the terrible reality of wildlife protection in Croatia". They intended to complain to anybody and everybody.

The back story supports their outrage. The association had told the authorities 24 months ago that there was a Bengal tiger on Hvar Island at a private zoo which apparently was unregistered. The zoo housed a large number of wild animals and domestic animals including this tiger.

The zoo is owned by Ivan Gospodnetic. He allows visits and there is no entrance fee according to the report by the Balkan Insight online news media website.

Veterinary inspectors visited the private zoo in 2019 and noted some irregularities. They said that misdemeanour proceeding would be instigated against the owner. They disagreed that the zoo was unregistered. When are they going to start proceedings?

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Gospodnetic talked to the media about the incident with the tiger on the ferryboat. He said that the big cat was not part of his collection and was called Simba. He apparently was looking after the tiger temporarily and was relocating it to another private zoo on the mainland where they breed tigers. It's believed the tiger is now in central Croatia at this tiger breeding establishment.

The photograph which was posted on Twitter shows travellers on the ferry photographing the tiger which is in a large cage covered by a tarpaulin.

Comment: looks like it isn't only Americans who have a fascination with possessing exotic cats such as tigers. Private zoos are often dangerous and the animals are often badly treated. The bottom line is that tigers are exploited at private zoos. They have to be because private zoos exist to exploit animals. That's their raison d'être. 

I have a page on Croatia's animal welfare laws - click the link to read it.  My limited knowledge of Croatian animal welfare law tells me that they have reasonable laws but that they are unsatisfactorily enforced. This means that they have poor animal welfare in the country. Poorly enforced animal welfare laws are probably worse than having no laws at all because they present to the world the image that they have decent animal welfare in the country when they don't.

In general, animal welfare laws and their enforcement are poorer in the Mediterranean countries and Eastern European countries compared to countries in northern Europe and the UK. It is an attitude problem. They are more backward and less well developed. Less sophisticated.

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