U.S. border patrol agents made a shocking discovery in Texas on Monday.
Border patrol agents working near the Rio Grande Valley, which is located in the southernmost tip of South Texas, noticed three individuals carrying a black duffel bag, attempting to enter the United States, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Authorities say the three people abandoned the bag as they returned to Mexico, and when the border agents investigated they found an unconscious two to four-month-old male tiger cub, which has since been given to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.
In a series of tweets, Irma Chapa, the Communications Director for RGV Sector Border Patrol, said the cub is “expected to make a full recovery.”
“NOT an average day in the field, as Brownsville Border Patrol Agents rescue a tiger! Updates to come. @CBPRGV,” Chapa wrote along with several pictures of the cub, including a photo of the tiger inside the duffel bag on Monday.
“UPDATE: Rescued tiger cub expected to make a full recovery! Saved by Brownsville Border Patrol. @CBPRGV #USBP #CBP #USBPRGV #meangreen #DHS,” Chapa tweeted in a separate post, sharing another photo of the tiger awake staring into the camera.
On Tuesday, Chapa tweeted a photo of the tiger at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
“UPDATE: 2month old tiger cub rescued by Brownsville Border Patrol and saved by Gladys Porter Zoologists is making a full recovery. #DHS #CBP #USBP @CBPRGV @USBPChief,” she captioned the picture.
In a follow-up post, Chapa shared a 9-second video of the cub walking around his cage.
““Cat’s Out of the Bag” no pun intended,” she captioned the video. “This gorgeous 2mo old cub gets a second chance at life. Rescued by Border Patrol and saved by the Gladys Porter Zoo. He’s amazing, so blessed to meet him and those caring for him. #DHS #CBP #USBP @GladysPorterZoo @USBPChief @CBPRGV.”
The Gladys Porter Zoo also gave an update on the baby tiger on social media Tuesday.
“The tiger cub found at the border in a duffel bag and in poor condition is now under the care of our veterinary staff,” the Zoo said on Twitter.
Continued the statement: “Our team acted quickly to stabilize him and he is now doing very well. The next step will be to find him a more permanent home.”
Surprisingly, this is not the first time border agents have found a smuggled tiger cub coming over the Mexican border.
In February, an 18-year-old was sentenced to six months behind bars for smuggling a Bengal tiger cub across the Mexican border into California, according to multiple reports at the time.
According to the reports, Luis Valencia was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the San Ysidro Port of Entry last August. Federal investigators alleged the stop was initiated because Valencia’s vehicle had no license plates.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that customs agents spotted a 6-week-old Bengal tiger cub on the passenger-side floor of the car. The recovered cub was named Moka and is now at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, reported the Sacramento Bee.
Both papers reported that Valencia’s attorney argued in a San Diego courtroom in February that his client wanted to keep the cub as a pet.
But the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported that prosecutors alleged Valencia’s cellphone records indicated he was operating a wildlife smuggling operation.
Tigers are endangered. One must have proper permits to import the animals.