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Wandering Tiger Now At North Texas Exotic Animal Sanctuary

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WISE COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - A roaming tiger has been transported more than 250 miles and now has new home in North Texas.

It started last week when a tiger was found wandering the streets in Conroe, a city about 40 miles north of Houston. The animal didn't have a threatening demeanor... it just seemed to be on an afternoon constitutional. In fact, a passerby said the tigress ran to him, jumped, put her paws on his shoulders and started licking his face.

When animal control officers arrived they quickly surmised the young female tiger was someone's pet. Not only was the tiger wearing  a collar and leash, but animal control workers said she had clearly been trained.

Animals control officers later said the tiger's owner had to leave because of flooding in the area, and took the big cat to a friend's house. It was there that the tigress made her escape.

The story about the friendly, strolling tiger soon spread and got the attention of the animal sanctuary in Boyd. "International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS) found out about the tiger and contacted the City of Conroe Animal Shelter where the tiger was temporarily placed and offered to provide the young tiger a permanent home," explained Richard Gilbreth, the director of IEAS.

Since the City of Conroe has ordinances against owning 'dangerous animals' a judge issued temporary custody to the City with the clear understanding that the tiger would be sent to IEAS, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

wandering tiger 1
File Photo (credit: International Exotic Animal Sanctuary)

Now workers at IEAS say the tiger is "having fun exploring her new home" and will soon be bonding with an animal behaviorist and staff members.

Sanctuary behaviorist Louis Dorfman said, "This young tiger has had an unsettled life with no ability to find contentment in a permanent residence. It will be our job and responsibility to make her secure, comfortable, and contented as soon as possible, so she can have the best life possible in captivity."

Gilbreth explained to CBSDFW.COM that that life will consist of a private, permanent habitat. The director said tigers with no familial bond, or lengthy past relationship with each other, generally don't do well in the same living quarters.

The tigress will be will be in quarantine for about three weeks and will then move to the permanent habitat, but can be seen by the public now during regularly scheduled tours at the facility.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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