ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — The tiger cub police found at a crime scene on Tuesday is now safe and temporarily staying at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. Veterinarians at the zoo checked out the 20 pound cub and said it is in good health, and a BioPark spokesperson said it is doing well.

“It appears to be weaving in and out of people’s legs out somewhere at the BioPark. Drinking water and doing kind of tiger cub things,” said New Mexico Game and Fish Spokesperson Darren Vaughn.

The tiger cub was found when the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) responded to a shooting near Zuni and Louisiana on Tuesday. According to an APD release, a trail of blood led them to a trailer where the cub was found in a dog crate.

There are still a lot of questions about how this tiger got here. Vaughn could not confirm where the tiger cub may have come from. KRQE also asked APD if the owner of the trailer will face any charges; a spokesperson with the department would only comment that it is an ‘ongoing investigation.’

Game and Fish was able to confirm this cub is not the same cub police were looking for last fall. Vaughn said that cub is probably closer to 50-90 pounds, and this months-old cub was about 20 pounds. Vaughn, however, could not confirm if there was any relation between the two tigers.

It is illegal to have a tiger as a pet in New Mexico. However, it’s something Game and Fish said they are seeing more interest in.

“In recent years, we’ve had a substantial increase in inquiries of how to possess these animals as pets, and it seems like that maybe does have a connection to various popular TV series that have kind of glamorized the possession of these animals,” said Vaughn.

Game and Fish could not give an estimate on how many tigers may be illegally living in homes across the state but the agency does want to find them.

“These are wild animals, and you put them in a setting they’re not familiar with; it’s dangerous for them and dangerous for the public as well. If you leave them with somebody not qualified to take care of them, the animal ends up in poor physical conditions, and it’s not healthy for them.”


Story continues below:


Game and Fish is offering rewards up to $1,000 for any information leading to a tiger in private possession. Those with information should immediately call Operation Game Thief at 800-432-4263 or file a report online.

The tiger cub will remain at the zoo until the investigation is complete and a permanent home for it is found.