Tiger believed to be at large in New Mexico, officials say

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A tiger is still missing in New Mexico, the state Department of Game and Fisheries announced on Saturday. Authorities believe the tiger was illegally kept as a pet.

Department investigators believe the tiger – which is less than a year old and believed to weigh between 30 and 60 pounds – is in New Mexico or a neighboring state. Tigers, however, can reach 600 pounds, depending on the subspecies.

NMDGF conservation officers obtained search warrants for two Albuquerque residences on August 12 and, with the assistance of federal, state, and local law enforcement, served the two warrants in the South Valley of the city, the department said in a news release.

A 26-year-old man inside one of the residences was arrested and New Mexico State Police began clearing the house. While doing so, they were informed of the presence of three large bags of marijuana paraphernalia, several guns and a handgun. Officers also found a container of cash, according to a press release from the Albuquerque Police Department.

As the NMDGF executed a search warrant regarding the purchase of the tiger, they located scales, a white powdery substance and a scale. They also found a five-gallon bag of marijuana in an attic crawl space. Officers also located more drugs, including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and $40,000 in cash. Officers also found a 3ft alligator that they believe was illegally possessed. The alligator has since been handed over to BioParc ABQ.

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According to the NMDGF, exotic animals held illegally in captivity are often in very poor condition when conservation officers discover them due to a lack of proper care. Both the alligator and the extinct tiger are considered “group 4” species, meaning that only zoos are allowed to own them.

NMDGF is asking for the public’s help in locating the missing tiger. Please call Operation Game Thief at 800-432-4263 if you have information on the location of this tiger, or if you have information on other wild or exotic animals held illegally by private individuals.

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