Police officers responding to reports of a shooting in southeast Albuquerque say they found a young Bengal tiger in a dog crate, but it’s not the same animal sought since least year.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officials said they took custody of the tiger and transferred it to the ABQ BioPark until an investigation is completed and a permanent home for the animal can be found.
The department sought the public’s help to find a young tiger that had been whisked away last summer from an Albuquerque-area house where police reported finding drugs, guns, cash and a 3-foot alligator.
“The Department of Game and Fish suspects that the tiger confiscated Tuesday is not the same tiger sought during the August 2022 search,” Field Operations Division Col. Tim Cimbal said.
Cimbal said the tiger from August is believed to be more than a year old and likely weighs 50-90 pounds by now while the tiger found this week is only a few months old and weighs 20 pounds.
Authorities served search warrants on two residences in Albuquerque’s South Valley Tuesday afternoon in response to tips that a tiger was being illegally held at one of the residences.
Police said a man was found at a mobile home with a gunshot wound on one of his legs and may have been struck by a stray bullet.
Officers spotted a blood trail and followed it to an unlocked trailer and that’s where the tiger was found inside the crate.
Laura Hagen, a director with the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement that New Mexico already bans residents 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 found in Albuquerque are not pets. They are dangerous, wild animals and don’t belong in homes or dog crates,” Hagen said.