MURCHISON, Texas (KXAN) — The tiger found roaming in a Houston neighborhood earlier this month is now living at Black Beauty Ranch, an animal sanctuary just west of Tyler.
India was released into a new, naturally-wooded half-acre habitat at the sanctuary Saturday after a week of adjusting to his new surroundings in a temporary enclosure. The Humane Society of the United States reports his transition went well.
Police allege India is owned by Victor Cuevas and his wife. They say on May 9, Cuevas loaded the tiger into his vehicle and took off after India was spotted in a west Houston neighborhood.
Cuevas, who was out on bond for a 2017 murder charge, was arrested and charged with felony evading arrest for the incident, but the tiger was no where to be found at the time.
India was ultimately surrendered to police by Cuevas’ wife May 15.
Senior Director of Black Beauty Noelle Almrud said in a press release India is “relishing in his freedom, and acting like the curious, lively young tiger he is.”
“He already found a large log that is clearly his favorite, and enjoys stretching, scratching and marking his scent. He bounces around the habitat exploring all of the new smells and stalking his toys in the thick tall grass, illustrating his wild instincts. He is having a great time in his pool, particularly batting at the waterspout, and spending time exploring the hills, platforms and other enrichment– including a big red ball he ambushes as he leaps from behind bushes to try to get it. He watches his new neighbors curiously – tigers and a black bear from afar in their own habitats. He continues to thrive and is eating well,” Almrud said.
The Humane Society of the United States warns people against keeping tigers as pets, saying they’re treated like domestic cats when they’re young, but when they hit maturity they become dangerous and unpredictable. When this happens, tigers are suddenly locked up and isolated, but India has the opportunity to have a better life than that now.
The organization is partnering with members of Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act to help protect big cats from coming to that dangerous fate.
Cuevas was released from jail again Monday, according to KPRC, after a judge revoked the bond in connection with the 2017 murder case. The news outlet reported Cuevas paid a $300,000 bond over the weekend and will get an ankle monitor.