A Bengal tiger cub filmed roaming through a quiet Houston neighborhood last Sunday is finally on its way to an animal shelter.
India was pictured on Sunday, after a six-day search, being taken to its new home at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.
The tiger will be placed in a small den area for observation, before being moved permanently into a half acre wooded area at their north Texas sanctuary.
The big cat was handed in to police in the Texas city earlier on Sunday.
India the tiger is seen on Sunday in a cage, en route to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch
The tiger will eventually be free to live with other tigers at the wildlife sanctuary
The nine-month-old cub – which is tame, but has sharp claws – will be cared for at the sanctuary with the other tigers.
Houston police shared a photo of India wearing a turquoise sparkly collar while being fed a bottle of milk by Gia Cuevas, the wife of alleged murderer Victor Cuevas, who owned the tiger.
‘We got him and he’s healthy,’ Houston Police Department Commander Ron Borza said in a video.
Police were notified by BARC, the local animal shelter where India has been taken, that a concerned citizen in contact with Gia Cuevas wished to hand him over.
It was not immediately clear where the tiger has been all week and why Cuevas decided now to contact police.
Borza said during a press conference on Saturday night that India had been shuttled through multiple ‘safe houses’ to try and hide the big cat while police hunted for him this week.
India the Bengal tiger is pictured after he was rescued by police
The Houston Police Department shared a video showing India had been found
‘She wanted to turn the tiger over to us,’ Borza said.
Police met Gia Cuevas on the west side of town and transferred the tiger over to police custody, who brought India to the animal shelter.
‘The tiger appears to be in very good health,’ he said.
However, he noted that India had been in a ‘very small crate when he was brought to us today.’
‘As you can tell, he’s in a much bigger crate now and he seems to be doing just fine,’ Borza said.
Police allowed Cuevas to come along as they delivered the tiger to BARC ‘because of the stress the tiger has been through in the last couple of weeks.’
‘He was obviously agitated and we got in the trailer with him, Gia fed him while we sat there and fed him. The animal likes attention,’ Borza said.
‘But in no way, shape or form, should you have an animal like that in your household.’
He added that India is only nine months old and already weighs 175 pounds.
‘Full grown, that animal can get to 600 pounds. He still has his claws and could do a lot of damage if he decided to,’ Borza said.
‘Lucky for us, he’s very tame and he’ll be going to a sanctuary tomorrow where he will hopefully live the rest of his life in a very safe environment.’
He added: ‘I work out every day and that animal was extremely powerful. If he wanted to overcome you, he could do it instantly.’
‘No doubt about it, you should not have that in your home. And it’s not good for the tiger. He needs to be out roaming around.’
India was first spotted around a neighborhood in west Houston on Sunday
The big cat was bundled into a white Jeep. Owner Victor Cuevas was later arrested, but there was no sign of India – until he was handed in on Sunday
Cuevas denied owning India, but his wife Gia has since told police the big cat was theirs. Cuevas was bailed after being charged with a 2017 murder, and is now back in jail
Police have not determined where Victor Cuevas purchased the tiger.
They do not have immediate plans to charge Gia Cuevas for keeping the tiger, despite owning a tiger being illegal.
After his arrest, Cuevas insisted that India wasn’t his, and that the cat’s real owner was a man called Deandre.
Texas state law allows tigers to be kept as pets but Houston has its own city rules which prohibits them in private homes.
‘It’s a feel good story. I think people get tired of turning on the news every night and it’s all doom and gloom. This thing turned out really well,’ Borza said.
India was filmed roaming west Houston last Sunday, shortly before alleged murderer Cuevas was seen bundling him into a white Jeep Cherokee.
Cuevas was later pulled over by police, but there was no sign of India.
The tiger is reported to have been passed between a series of safe houses in recent days in a bid to keep him away from law enforcement.
Cuevas, who was on bail over a July 2017 shooting outside a Japanese restaurant, is now back in jail.
The mission to track down India after he was spotted roaming Houston grew online with even Tiger King star Carole Baskin joining the search by offering a $5,000 reward to help find the tiger, KHOU reported.