A years-long police probe into the sale of a tiger cub to a French couple reportedly expecting a kitten has now concluded.
The investigation was launched in 2018 when the couple, from Le Havre, complained to police after they forked out "several thousand euros" for a Savannah cat advertised online only to be given a baby tiger instead, Lad Bible reported.
Police said a total of nine people had since been arrested, including the couple who bought the big cat, on charges related to trafficking a protected species. Others are also now facing charges related to organised crime.
According to Lad Bible, the 2018 incident started after the couple made a deal with an online merchant to hand over €6,000 (£5,484) for an advertised Savannah cat upon the animal's delivery to the pair.
However, when the seller turned up, they were reportedly carrying a three-month old Sumatran tiger.
A Savannah cat is a cross between a wild serval cat and a domestic cat. They are legal to own in France, whereas keeping tigers as pets is not.
Despite the two species looking markedly different, the couple told police they were unaware they had been given a tiger cub for a few days and once they suspected something was wrong, they contacted officers who then launched their investigation.
Police said they were initially unclear where the animal came from but suggested it had appeared in various selfies and even featured in a rap video filmed in Normandy.
According to France Bleu, the tiger was in good health when it was rescued and was handed over to the French Biodiversity Office.
It has since been re-homed in an unidentified location.