Police officers responding to reports of a shooting in southeast Albuquerque say they found a young Bengal tiger in a dog enclosure, but it’s not the animal they’ve been looking for since last year. A trail of blood at the crime scene led officers to the exotic animal, CBS affiliate KRQE-TV reported informed.
New Mexico Game and Fish Department staff said that they had taken a tiger under their care and transferred it to the ABQ BioPark until the investigation is complete and a permanent home can be found for the animal.
Zoo veterinarians examined the 20-pound cub and said it is in good health, KRQE-TV informed.
“It looks like it’s entwined in people’s feet somewhere in the Biopark. They’re drinking water and doing something like tiger cubs,” Game and Fish spokesman Darren Vaughn told the station.
The department is asking for the public’s help in finding the young tiger, which was taken last summer from an Albuquerque-area home where police said they found drugs, guns, money and a three-foot alligator.
“The Game and Fish Department suspects that the tiger seized on Tuesday is not the same tiger that was sought during the August 2022 search,” said Field Operations Col. Tim Cymbal.
Cymbal said tiger since August It is believed to be over a year old and probably weighs 50-90 pounds, while the tiger found this week is only a few months old and weighs 20 pounds.
Authorities served search warrants Tuesday afternoon at two residences in Albuquerque’s South Valley in response to reports of a tiger being illegally kept at one of the residences.
Police said the man was found inside the mobile home with a gunshot wound to one of his legs and may have been struck by a stray bullet.
Officers noticed a trail of blood and followed it to an unlocked trailer, where a tiger was found inside a crate.
Laura Hagen, director of the Humane Society of the United States, said New Mexico residents are already prohibited from keeping tigers as pets, and federal law now prohibits private owners from keeping tigers as pets or for breeding purposes.
“Big cat cubs like the tiger cubs found in Albuquerque are not pets. They are dangerous, wild animals and have no place in homes or dog crates,” Hagen said.
New Mexico Game and Fish Department officials said that he “noted a significant increase in the number of requests for permits to import or own tigers related to practices in popular television shows.”
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