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5-Month-Old Tiger Being Sold Online Recovering at Local Zoo

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BROWNSVILLE – A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden said his office alongside the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office acted quickly to ensure the safety of a tiger being sold online.

Robin Zayas is a passionate member of The Animal Advocates of Edinburg. One of the group's major tasks is alerting Facebook and Craigslist of illegal animal sales on their websites.

She said the group red flags approximately 100 prohibited sales a day. On Tuesday, she found an exotic animal for sale on one of Facebook’s online pulga page.

"It raised a lot of red flags with us. It was a tiger, a five-month-old tiger," Zayas said.

She explained she contacted the man selling the tiger. He claimed to have all of the correct paperwork to own a tiger, but Zayas knew something wasn't right so she began making calls to multiple agencies in the county.

"We started receiving phone calls and a bunch of stuff through social media, and we were advised that there was a tiger in someone's possession in the Edinburg area," Texas Parks and Wildlife Cpt. James Dunks told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Dunks said his office immediately opened an investigation.

We learned that Hidalgo County has an order in accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code 822 prohibiting wild animals. As a result, TPWD seized the tiger and transported it to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

"Right now, they are holding the tiger for safe keeping, for the tiger's own good and the community's public safety," Dunks said.

He explained the tiger will remain at the zoo until the investigation is complete.

Dr. Thomas Demaar is the veterinarian at the zoo and is currently in charge of the tiger’s well-being. He said this isn't the first time the zoo has taken in a tiger that was confiscated from the public.

"In the last 10 years, this will be our 11th tiger that we have accepted in an official capacity," Demaar explained.

He said the tiger is currently recovering from its trip. He added while the tiger may look cute at its young age, it will one day grow to about 500 pounds and develop deadly instincts.

Zayas said she is relieved that the tiger found a safe home.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the owner of the tiger. He declined an on-camera interview.

Count on us to continue tracking the TPWD investigation.

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