A sedated baby tiger was found in a duffel bag at the Mexican border near the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas Monday. The tiger is now being medically treated at a nearby zoo and is expected to make a full recovery.
Border patrol agents spotted three people attempting to cross the border Monday. When they fled back to Mexico, they left behind a black duffel bag. Agents discovered a small, male tiger unconscious in the bag, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The cub was taken to Gladys Porter Zoo shortly thereafter.
Irma Chapa, the communications director for RGV Sector Border Patrol, said on Twitter the tiger will get "a second chance at life."
Chapa tweeted about the baby tiger's condition throughout Monday, writing, "He’s amazing, so blessed to meet him and those caring for him."
"The tiger cub found at the border in a duffel bag and in poor condition is now under the care of our veterinary staff. Our team acted quickly to stabilize him and he is now doing very well. The next step will be to find him a more permanent home," the Gladys Porter Zoo said on Twitter.
Senior veterinarian Tom deMaar suggested the animal had been heavily sedated before being transported.
“You’re not going to stuff a live tiger into a bag without an argument,” deMaar told The Washington Post.
Nicholas Chavez, the southwest region special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, noted the appeal of foreign wildlife for smugglers.
“There’s a demand for exotic skin boots, and the more exotic, the more people want them,” said Chavez in a 2017 National Geographic interview.
Tigers are officially listed as an endangered species, according to the World Wildlife Fund website.
[Photo: Twitter @chapa_irma]