Binmen in Greece were shocked to find a rare white tiger cub underneath a waste container outside a zoo.
The young feline, believed to be about three months old, was spotted by municipal cleaning staff in the town of Spata, near Athens, on 28th February.
The cub, which vets say is disabled from the waist down, is suspected to have been smuggled illegally into the country before being abandoned.
Vets add that it was mistreated by its handlers and will never recover from some of its injuries.
Zoo officials say the feline was likely left outside the premises on 27th February.
CCTV footage and witnesses have so far failed to identify any suspects.
It is unclear if police are actively investigating the case.
White tigers are caused by a lack of the pigment pheomelanin.
They are only born to parents that both carry the recessive gene for white colouring.
They occur in one in 10,000 births.
Attica Zoological Park revealed in a statement obtained by Newsflash that several individuals concerned for the cub’s well-being had been in touch.
The private zoo wrote: “Thank you for your concern regarding the young white tiger cub that was found in a bad state under the trash bins, outside our zoo.
“The cub is kept in a secure area of the zoo that is not accessible to visitors in accordance with the relevant authorities.
“Our veterinarians alongside other specialists are continuing to perform a series of tests in order to better understand its health status.
“The cub is approximately 3 months old, in a poor body condition and in a critical state.
“Specifically, the young cub has not received proper care or diet, resulting in a variety of severe and potentially irreversible issues.
“Unfortunately it appears to be yet another victim of the illegal wildlife trade.
“Over the last years the illegal wildlife trade itself as well as its by-products have increased dramatically.
“This particular illegal activity is ranked 4th worldwide after drug trafficking, human trafficking and fraud.
“The European Union is a key destination for illegal wildlife products and a crossroad for their movement to other regions.
“Anyone who has any information about the origin of this animal is kindly requested to contact the authorities.”
The president of the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation, Natasa Mpompolakh, also made a statement about the incident.
She wrote online: “A little while ago, I communicated with Nikos Bokaris from the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, who, on the orders of Deputy Minister Amyras, went to the Attica Park today [9th March] and saw it.
“As he informed me, the young animal is very exhausted from the poor nutrition provided by the criminals who had it. It cannot stand on its feet and is dehydrated, etc.
“Since the day before yesterday, it has been fed with good food and taking vitamins, and it is showing improvement. The Deputy Minister’s orders are in consultation with veterinary services to perform a complete check-up on the animal, including magnetic resonance imaging, full blood count, and for vitamin deficiency, everything.
“A first X-ray performed on it showed that there is a veterinary stitch, indicating that it has been operated on.
“It weighs only 12 kilogrammes [26 lb] due to everything that has happened to it.
It appears friendly, i.e., it does not react, possibly due to its weakness.
“My information tells me that major wildlife organisations have expressed interest in taking it over.”
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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