Poznań zoo in desperate race to save lives of nine starving tigers stranded at Belarusian border in their own excrement

The tigers were left stranded without food and covered in their own excrement while on their way to Dagestan. Zoo Poznań Official Site/Facebook

A Polish zoo is racing against time to rescue nine tigers which have been stranded for days on the Polish-Belarusian border.

The tigers were found caked in their own excrement and starving while being transported from Italy to a circus in Dagestan in the Russian Federation.

Originally there were ten tigers but horrific video from the zoo in Poznań which has launched the rescue bid shows one of the animals dead, with other videos and photos showing the shocking conditions in which the animals were being kept.

The tigers were being transported from Italy to a circus in Dagestan in the Russian Federation.Zoo Poznań Official Site/Facebook

A lorry carrying the ten tigers had set off from Rome on October 22 but was stopped at the border on Sunday after driving almost 2,000km.

Belarusian authorities refused to allow the transport through saying the driver didn’t have a visa nor the necessary veterinary permits.

The big cats were locked up, unfed and had nothing to drink.Zoo Poznań Official Site/Facebook

Originally there were ten tigers but one of the animals died in the appalling conditions.Zoo Poznań

Heroes! Poznań zoo staff traveled over 500km on Tuesday evening to try and save the animals.Zoo Poznań Official Site/Facebook

In a Facebook update the Poznań zoo rescuers posted a photo of them taking the tigers to safety, saying: “We on our way.”Zoo Poznań Official Site/Facebook

One of the tigers later died from the appalling conditions.

Poznań zoo staff traveled over 500km on Tuesday evening to try and save the animals.

Horrific video from the zoo in Poznań shows the shocking conditions in which the animals were being kept.

The zoo’s director Ewa Zgrabczyńska said: “For over a week they have been in tiny cages that prevent them from moving, feeding and watering.

“They are hungry and thirsty, they stand in their own excrement. We don't know how many of them can be kept alive.”

She added: “The animals are locked up, unfed with nothing to drink, it is a huge tragedy.”

Belarusian authorities refused to allow the transport through saying the driver didn’t have a visa nor the necessary veterinary permits.Zoo Poznań

After transporting the big cats to Poznan, the zoo posted on its Facebook page: 'this is the beginning of the fight to keep them alive, the expectations of animals to escape from death have been reduced.

“We don't know how long they will survive, but we won't give up, every animal is priceless to us.”

UPDATE: On Thursday Zgrabczyńska said that the animals will spend several days in the Poznań zoo, after which they will be transported to a refuge in Spain with assistance from the Dutch Animal Advocates organisation.

The district prosecution in Lublin, southeast Poland, informed PAP on Thursday that the organiser of the transport, Russian Federation citizen Rinat V., has been detained on charges of cruelty to animals.