A three-month-old male Bengal tiger cub suffering from a hernia was found on Thursday, wandering on the streets of a California neighborhood.
A woman who found the 25-pound animal wandering on the streets of Hemet picked him up and dropped him off at the Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto, to the pleasure and astonishment of staff at the center who were probably seeing a tiger cub at the shelter for first time.
“It was an exciting day today at Ramona Humane Society. As an open admission shelter we except all animals including this tiger found in our community.”
The shelter posted photos of the cute little cub to its Facebook page, and a video showing him having fun, running around and drinking from a large plastic bowl of water.
Officials from the California Fish and Wildlife Department later transferred the cub about 70 miles to the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan. The center, according to NBC, is licensed to take care of exotic animals.
The cub will stay at the sanctuary until the California Department of Fish and Wildlife makes a decision on its final destination.
Joel Almquist, a wildlife expert at the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, said this was the first time in 20 years that the sanctuary has received a cub. But CBS Los Angeles reports that the sanctuary has several tigers, including a white tiger.
The juvenile feline was found declawed. He will have to undergo surgery to remove a hernia from his abdomen, officials said.
He will be allowed to recover fully at the sanctuary after surgery before he is moved elsewhere.
Almquist said he will be bottle-fed and placed on a diet rich in meat, and allowed plenty of space to run around.
The original owner of the cub was unknown, but Almquist said that private individuals are required to apply for a special permit before they can own wild exotic animals like a tiger.
Although Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) are the most numerous subspecies of tigers with an estimated population of about 2,500, their population is decreasing.
And although they are large-bodied felines, with males averaging 270-310 cm in length and weighing 180-258 kg (397-569 lbs.), they are, on the average, smaller than their cousins the Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), which can weigh up to 306 kg (675 lbs.).