MURCHISON, Texas (KETK) – India, the Houston tiger who made headlines after going missing around Mother’s Day, was found and safely taken to an animal sanctuary in East Texas.
The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison now has India in quarantine, but he will soon be able to roam free in a spacious habitat with native grasses, trees and a pool.
India’s story was brought to the public eye after being seen in the front yard of a Houston neighborhood, then went missing for several days. After a while, Big Cat Rescue CEO and “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin offered a $5,000 reward for recovery of the tiger.
The tiger was found earlier this week, and taken from a Houston animal shelter called BARC to Black Beauty Ranch.
“When I saw this story, I just reached out to my contacts at BARC and said hey, if you guys find this tiger and you need help, let me know,” Black Beauty Ranch director Noelle Almrud said. “We’re happy to help.”
The day India was surrendered, Almrud got a call. They packed up and made the trip by the next morning.
“We’re happy to take him in and just give him permanent sanctuary and treat him as a wild animal and give him what he needs to stay wild but safe and happy,” Almrud said.
Black Beauty Ranch is home to five other tigers and knows how to make the big cats feel at home.
“We’re trying to mimic his native environment, give him what he would normally have in the wild, but then obviously we’re providing him with a full complete nutritious diet,” Almrud said. “We have an on-site veterinarian that provides amazing care to our animals, so he’s going to have the best of everything.”
In February, a female tiger was rescued in San Antonio from freezing temperatures. The tiger, named Elsa, was also taken to Black Beauty Ranch.
“Unfortunately, you can just do a search on the internet and you’ll see, you can pretty much buy whatever animal you want, unfortunately,” Almrud said. “It’s not really very well controlled. There are some laws, but not enough.”
Almrud said that this problem could continue if legislation is not passed to prevent it.
“There are so many counties in Texas that have little to no regulations, or they require a permit yet nobody signs up or registers,” Almrud said. “It’s just a faulty system and until we can ban it outright, I think we’re going to continue to see this problem.”
The Big Cat Public Safety Act is a federal bill that will help crack down on the buying and selling of exotic animals.
“We need people to understand that they have to speak up, or else their representatives and senators will not necessarily pass the bill just because they think it’s a good idea. They need to know that their constituency wants this bill passed.”
Black Beauty Ranch is a nonprofit that relies on donations. For ways to give, check their website.