China officials quit after tiger leaps from Qingdao apartment

A Siberian tiger cub being transported by rescuers from Qingdao Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The surviving tigers have been moved to a local zoo, state television reported

Three officials in China have resigned after an endangered Siberian tiger cub leapt to its death from an 11th floor apartment in Qingdao, eastern China, state media have reported.

The death of the tiger - possibly frightened by fireworks celebrating Chinese New Year - sparked an investigation.

On Wednesday Yang Wenzheng, Zhang Fucai and Cui Jingguang were found to have illegally reared eight tigers.

They apologised and have been fined.

'Gap in cage'

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yang Wenzheng told local media he raised two tigers from a young age

Chinese Central Television (CCTV) reported the surviving animals had been moved to a local zoo.

The seven-month-old cub was found dead in the car park of an apartment building on 19 February.

Yang Wenzheng, a member of the local legislature, was quoted on web portal Dahe Online saying: "I was raising two tigers - not long after they were born I started taking care of them, just like they were my children.

"It's very possible that the tiger got scared because of the noise, so it squeezed out of its cage and fell to its death."

He said he found a gap in the cage and broken glass nearby.

He told the reporter he had constructed a 3m (9ft) tall steel cage on his roof and arranged for someone to feed the tigers beef, chicken and other meat twice a day.

With one of his fellow deputies, Yang had obtained two tigers from a third councillor, who had eight of the animals but found the costs of raising them too expensive to bear.

They bred at least three cubs that later died, CCTV reported.

The officials were found to have kept the tigers without permits and fined 3,000 Chinese renminbi (£326), reports said.

Tiger meat and bones are said to have curative properties in traditional Chinese medicine and farming them can be lucrative, the China Daily said.

It added tigers can fetch 1m RMB on the black market.

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