If the phenomenon is not new, in recent years, social networks have given a new window to fans of exotic animals, tarantulas, tigers and other protected species. Selfies with a beast have thus multiplied, especially among celebrities. In April 2020, the Olympique Lyonnais striker Memphis Depay, then recovering in Dubai, posted photos of him, shirtless, in an apartment with a liger, an unnatural cross between a tigress and a lion, on his Instagram account.
As Dutch footballer, rapper Lacrim is passionate about wild animals. You can see it on his album covers or in his music videos like “Freestyle Tiguere 2”, where he enters the cage of a tiger which leaps on him to embrace him.
One way to sit her down “style” or from “to pose his delinquent”, decrypts Ludovic Ehrhart, number 2 of theCentral Office for the Fight against Attacks on the Environment and Public Health (OCLAESP) of the gendarmerie. He notes a “identification“to this manly universe”in certain social codes or environments: the rap scene, the show-off scene, which can also correspond to city environments, explains Colonel Ludovic Ehrhart, Deputy Head of the Office. Several times this has been linked to our drug searches. And thesocial networks are part of this craze. “
Behind the image of the harmless lion cub often hides illegal trafficking. A fawn baby sells for up to 15,000 euros on the black market. The Convention on International Trade in Protected Species (Cites) strictly regulates market rules. In France, keeping animals threatened with extinction is punishable by prison and heavy fines. It can also be dangerous.
“Quickly, from a big plush, it becomes an adult animal. Those who have them get rid of it.”Colonel Ludovic Ehrhart
A lion and a tiger have, for example, been found abandoned in apartments in Seine-Saint-Denis. “They dispose of them in the wild or allow them to perish. Of all the animals we have found, especially felines, none are healthy“, notes the gendarme.
In most cases, it is difficult for investigators to trace the underground. “As these are people who are used to being confronted with the police force, they are not very talkative”, specifies Yannick Jaouen, head of the recent cell of three police officers which tracks environmental crimes within the French Biodiversity Office. “We can easily imagine that it could come from the circus world or from foreign countries close to France because the transfers are done more by road than by airport.“, explains Yannick Jaouen.
The feline business is extremely juicy. But wild animals are far from the most lucrative species. The golden-headed lion tamarin, a small monkey on the way ofextinction, sells for 40,000 euros as a pet, not to mention elvers, these baby eels poached in France and illegally exported to Asia, sold for up to 10,000 euros per kilo. But there is no question of a selfie.