Man to pay for illegally transporting tigers to be killed

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- A man who admitted to transporting tigers as part of a illegal scheme has been ordered to pay $10,000 to the Save the Tiger Fund.

Freddy Wilmoth of Gentry, Ark., also was sentenced to six months of home confinement and three years probation, the U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis said. He must also spend two weekends in jail before July.

Wilmoth pleaded guilty in February to misdemeanor transportation of an endangered species.

He operated the Wild Wilderness Safari exotic animal farm in Arkansas. The indictment against him charges that in 1998 Wilmoth sold four tigers to a man who took them to a trailer near Cape Girardeau and shot them. It was part of a scheme to sell the tigers' hides, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

Hides, meat, skulls and teeth of tigers, leopards and other big cats can fetch $5,000 to $20,000 from collectors, wildlife officials say. Tiger bones, worth up to $250 a pound, go primarily to people who practice traditional Chinese medicine, both overseas and in major U.S. cities with large Asian populations.

Possessing big cats violates no federal law, but killing the animals is prohibited.

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