A video of an escaped tiger wandering a residential street in Houston andcoming face-to-face with an armed off-duty sheriff’s deputy is making therounds on social media.
During the encounter, the Waller County sheriff’s deputy can be heard yellingat a man believed to be the tiger’s caretaker. No shots were fired during theencounter.
Texas is one of the most lenient states when it comes to exotic animalownership laws. Possession and regulation of these animals are controlled bythe Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Texans wanting to own a tiger or other large cat must qualify for a permit. Toqualify, prospective owners must prove they can properly cage and provide forthe tiger as a pet.
Estimates on how many tigers live in Texas range from 2,000 to 5,000.According to the World Wildlife Foundation, there are an estimated 3,900tigers in the wild globally.
While many tigers in Texas live in zoos or animal sanctuaries, others are keptas pets in people’s backyards. The exact numbers are almost impossible to pindown.
When officers arrived at the scene in Houston Sunday night, the tiger’s owner– who was out on bond on a murder charge – put the animal in a white JeepCherokee and drove off, Houston police Cmdr. Ron Borza said during a newsconference Monday. The man got away after a brief pursuit.
“My main concern right now is focusing on finding him and finding the tigerbecause what I don’t want him to do is harm that tiger. We have plenty ofplaces we can take that tiger and keep it safe and give it a home for the restof its life,” Borza said.
Borza said residents should not have exotic animals as pets because they canbe unpredictable.
“If that tiger was to get out and start doing some damage yesterday, I’m sureone of these citizens would have shot the tiger. We have plenty of neighborsout here with guns and we don’t want to see that. It’s not the animal’s fault.It’s the breeder’s fault. It’s unacceptable,” he said.
The man, whose name was not released by authorities, was charged with murderin November in neighboring Fort Bend County and was out on $250,000 bond. Theman also apparently had two monkeys in the home, Borza said. Authorities planto charge him with evading arrest, Borza said.
After a century of decline, overall wild tiger numbers are starting to tickupward. Based on the best available information, tiger populations are stableor increasing in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia and China. An estimated 3,900tigers remain in the wild, but much more work is needed to protect thisspecies if we are to secure its future in the wild. In some areas, includingmuch of Southeast Asia, tigers are still in crisis and declining in number.
Source: Yahoo News
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