Last week, off-duty office deputy Andy Wilson spotted a tiger on the loose in a park in Knoxville, Tennessee. Five days later, the wild animal is yet to be found.
According to Knox News, Wilson was working a side job at the city's Industrial River Park when he noticed a tiger crossing the street after coming out of the French Broad River and heading towards the woods. Other media outlets report that the tiger was spotted in different areas a few more times since that first Wednesday sighting.
The local Knoxville Zoo was quick to report that Malayan tigers Arya, Bashir and Tanvir—who call the zoo home—"are all safely accounted for." The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and animal control units were swiftly dispatched to lead the search, which was carried forward by helicopter as well.
"A trap baited with chicken was set last night but was pulled this afternoon due to inactivity and the subsequent report of the cat a few miles away," a spokesperson for the TWRA told Knox News last week. "A wildlife officer is actively looking for the animal at this time."
Tiger Haven, a no-kill big cat sanctuary in Kingston, Tennessee, also jumped in to help. Given state guidelines—it's illegal to keep a tiger as a private owner in Tennessee—the animal will be taken to Tiger Haven if caught.
According to a spokesperson from the sanctuary, there's been increased interest in illegal tiger ownership since Tiger King—a docu-series about an eccentric zookeeper and the world of big cat breeding—dropped on Netflix to much fanfare this past March. We must say the latter fact doesn't necessarily surprise us but does fill us with wonder: why would you ever want to keep a tiger as a pet?
Needless to say: if you see a tiger on the loose, stay away and alert the authorities.
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