The male Bengal tiger cub that Albuquerque police found inside a mobile home while investigating a shooting last month has been transferred to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, according to officials at the ABQ BioPark Zoo, where the animal had been cared for.
Keepers named the cub Duke — a nod to the Duke City.
Rescue of The Day!
Location: The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Keenesburg, CO.
“Duke” is a male tiger cub that was recently rescued from an illegal drug ring operating in Albuquerque, NM. He is approximately four months old, but is much smaller than he should be at that age … pic.twitter.com/ZW1VKk769m
— The Wild Animal Sanctuary (@animalsanctuary) February 16, 2023
After finding the cub inside a dog crate, police contacted the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, which took custody of the animal and placed it with the BioPark Zoo.
Duke, thought to be about 4 months old, was in quarantine for 30 days while zoo officials searched for a sanctuary that would accept him.
Last Saturday, Zoo manager Lynn Tupa and assistant curator Casey Taylor, drove the cub to the sanctuary northeast of Denver.
Duke was calm, healthy and content, tipping the scale at 27 pounds — 5 pounds more than when he arrived at the BioPark Zoo on Jan. 11, Tupa said.
BioPark staff worked extensively with the tiger cub to prepare him for socializing with other tigers at his new home, and to make sure he learned how to voluntarily enter his new, much larger crate for the trip to Colorado.
Because the genetic lineage of the animal was unknown, it could not be placed in a breeding program or zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Further, the BioPark’s Asia exhibit, currently under construction, will be home to Malayan tigers, a smaller and different type of tiger.
Bengal tigers are classified as endangered, and Malayan tigers as critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund. The organizations estimate that because of poaching, habitat destruction and declining food prey, only 3,500 Bengal tigers still exist in the wild, and less than 300 Malayan tigers remain.
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