U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers had an “unusual situation” Wednesday when they rescued an illegally-trafficked tiger cub from the clutches of the animal trade.
Luis Eudoro Valencia, 18, of California, was traveling from Mexico to California with a 21-year-old passenger when the duo was stopped at Otay Mesa Port around 1:30 a.m., KGTV reported.
During a vehicle inspection, CBP officers said they found the cub lying on the passenger side floor and removed it.
Valencia told officers he had purchased the tiger for $300 from an individual he encountered walking a full-sized tiger on a leash in Tijuana, according to KGTV.
The cub is now in the hands of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service who is working with the San Diego Zoo to determine the best care for the animal, CBP officers said.
Tigers are considered endangered species, so it’s illegal to import them into the United States without permits, which Valencia did not have, KGTV reported.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.