Woman sparks outrage after walking her pet tiger cub through a shopping mall
A woman has attracted attention on social media after walking a pet tiger cub on a leash in a shopping mall.
Pictures of the incident, which took place in the wealthy Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City, began trending on Twitter, with users criticising the woman, identified as Mina Ayala, for owning an endangered species of big cat.
According to Mexican publication 24 Horas, security staff at the mall did not report the incident to authorities.
Twitter user @ZaiPorras, who first posted the image tweeted in Spanish, "Today on FB I found this image of a girl freely walking her BENGAL TIGER in @AntaraFashion. I shared it for several reasons: According to NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 the tiger is classified as an endangered species".
The owner, who was seen walking the animal alongside her partner, has since defended her ownership of the two month old exotic animal on social media.
She said that owning an exotic animal is legal in Mexico if the owner adheres to the rules set by environmental officials and so long as the tiger cub is purchased in Mexico from registered exotic animal sellers who can certify the cub was born into captivity.
User @ZaiPorras later tweeted that the owner had reached out to her.
"The woman found my post and had the audacity to say "it wasn't illegal." When I replied, she deleted her comment and blocked me."
Is it legal in Mexico to own an exotic animal?
Under Mexican law, anyone is allowed to own exotic animals, however they must come from registered breeders which have been validated by the Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).
However, this doesn't mean that walking a tiger on a leash in public is legal.
The owner of an exotic pet must also gain approval from the Ministry of the Environment and prove that the animal will be confined under safe conditions which can guarantee the safety of public while also showing both dignity and respect to the animal.
What is the Bengal Tiger's natural habitat?
The Bengal tiger is one of the largest wild cats in existence today.
However it is a threatened species in danger of extinction, despite being the most common tiger and making up about half of all wild tigers.
It is native to the Indian subcontinent and lives in the forests and mangrove swamps of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Burma.