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Border agents discover tiger cub abandoned by smugglers


On Monday, April 30, 2018, U.S. Border Patrol Agents experienced two unusual encounters in separate incidents.

Brownsville agents working near the Rio Grande observed an alligator on a boat ramp as they were conducting line watch operations. Riverine agents regularly utilize the boat ramp.

Later in the day, agents observed three subjects attempting to enter the United States illegally. Responding agents noticed the aliens were carrying a black duffel bag. Inside, agents discovered a male tiger which was left abandoned as the aliens returned to Mexico.


The three to four month old cub was turned over to the Gladys Porter Zoo.

The cub was an apparent node in the billion-dollar trade of animal smuggling, and it is in unfortunate company.

Last year, a tiger cub bought by a U.S. teenager was intercepted at a checkpoint in California.

In 2010, border agents recovered a caged and abandoned tiger in Laredo, another Texas border town.

And a decade ago, six tiger cubs were recovered from an attempted sale at a Walmart parking lot, also in Brownsville. They appeared to be southbound for Mexico, local media reported at the time.

Smugglers move freely through corruption-plagued nations and exploit the sometimes-porous border with Mexico to send endangered animals and illegal animal products into the United States. And they tend to use trade routes already traversed by drug, weapon and human smugglers, a highway of sorts of illegal activity.

Nearly 55,000 animals were seized at ports of entry from 2005 to 2014, with an unknown number that arrived in the United States undetected.

Officials confirmed the tiger cub is expected to make a full recovery.


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