United States border agents in Brownsville were intercepting individuals attempting to cross into the country illegally when they came upon a curious duffel bag. According to officials, three men were attempting to smuggle the duffel bag into the country, but quickly abandoned the bag and fled when they realized border patrol agents were conducting a checkpoint nearby.
Customs and Border Protection agents carefully examined the black bag, and they were astonished to find an unconscious four-month old tiger cub stuffed inside. It appears that the men tranquilized the exotic animal in an attempt to smuggle it into the country. Authorities released the male tiger to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.
Irma Chapa, the Communications Director for the United States Border Patrol (RGV Sector), later posted an update on social media. Chapa explained that the tiger cub was undergoing medical examinations but was expected to make a full recovery. The zoo has decided to name the tiger “Nino”.
The individuals carrying the tiger were able to flee back into Mexico before being caught by agents, so it’s unclear whether they will try to smuggle more animals into the country in the future. A 2015 report from the Defenders of Wildlife highlighted the fact that around 350 million plants and exotic animals are sold globally. The industry is worth between $7 billion and $23 billion. Endangered and exotic species are often smuggled into the United States through Latin America, and this is not the first time agents have seized a tiger cub at the border. About ten years ago, one man was attempting to sell six tigers at a Walmart parking lot. Three of these tigers are still at Gladys Porter Zoo, and it’s likely they will welcome “Nino” into their family.