(CNN) — Thousands of miles from its natural habitat, a Bengal tiger was seen prowling in the front yard of a home in Houston.
But days after the bizarre sighting, authorities and Houstonians aren’t sure exactly where the big cat is.
Here’s what we know about the tiger and what could happen after they find it.
Where was the tiger last seen?
The 9-month-old male tiger was last seen in public on Sunday. Resident José Antonio Ramos saw the carnivore in his front garden.
“I had to pinch myself,” he said. Was it real?
Shortly after, a man emerged from a nearby home, straddled and grabbed the tiger, according to a witness cell phone video provided to CNN affiliate KTRK.
When police arrived, 26-year-old Victor Hugo Cuevas put the tiger in a white truck and drove off, said Police Commander Ron Borza.
Cuevas was out on bail, charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a man in 2017. Cuevas’s attorney, Michael Elliott, said the tiger is a 9-month-old male named India, but that Cuevas is not his owner.
Houston police said Cuevas was arrested after fleeing, but “the whereabouts of the tiger are not yet known.”
What do we know about the research?
Cuevas was charged with evading arrest and detention with a vehicle, according to records from the Fort Bend County Jail.
By Wednesday afternoon, he had been released on bail and appeared with his attorney at a press conference.
Elliott said they were trying to help locate the tiger, but would not say where his client, who was last seen with India, was driving Sunday night with the cat in the truck.
The state is seeking to revoke Cuevas’ bail on the murder charge, unrelated to the current case, and a hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Houston police have not released many details about the investigation and said key updates will be made. on your Twitter account.
It appears that the investigation is solely focused on the Houston area, as various state and county agencies say they are not involved. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told CNN they are not part of the tiger investigation.
Owning a tiger is a violation of Houston law, but it is legal under Texas state law, with certain restrictions.
Where will the tiger go when they find it?
BARC, Houston’s animal shelter and adoption center, said animal control officials are assisting Houston police with the investigation.
City rules say it is illegal to keep wild animals that are dangerous to humans in any facility other than an accredited zoo or shelter.
“In the event that such animals are found in Houston, animal control officials will confiscate the animals and transport them to a safe location, be it BARC, another refuge, or a regional wildlife facility, to protect both the public safety as well as animal health, “said a city spokeswoman, Lara Cottingham, in a written statement.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told CNN that it is consulting with Houston police and offering expert advice to make sure they don’t violate the Endangered Species Act by detaining the tiger.
At least one shrine has offered to take India after they find it. The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, a branch of the Humane Society, in Murchison, Texas, told CNN it would welcome the big cat.
What’s the mood in Houston?
For the most part, Houstonians are not nervous about the tiger’s disappearance.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the most important thing to many people,” said Brock Silverstein, owner of the Pecan Creek Grille in West Houston, not far from the neighborhood where the tiger was seen.
«I interact with clients all the time. It really hasn’t even been a topic of conversation.
Since no one has seen the tiger roaming in public for at least three days, Silverstein said he does not believe it is a threat to the community.
It’s amazing that no one has seen it, right? So maybe something happened to him, ”he said.
Why is it a bad idea to have a tiger as a pet?
“Tigers are programmed to travel hundreds of miles, so there is not one cage that is enough for them,” said Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue and star of the Netflix series “Tiger King.” “The only reason people keep tigers as pets is to try to show off to others.”
Baskin said those who were close to the tiger in a Houston neighborhood were in “extreme danger.”
He praised an off-duty policeman who lived nearby and pointed his gun at the tiger, but did not fire.
“I was so impressed with the agent who appeared on the scene because he did exactly the right thing. And he showed incredible restraint by not shooting that tiger, “Baskin said. He kept eye contact. He backed away slowly. A tiger, if you look down, if you turn around, if that neighbor had run to his door, that activates his instinct to kill.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism