VIDEO: Pet tiger, Elsa, rescued from freezing weather in San Antonio brought to East Texas animal sanctuary

Local News

MURCHISON, Texas (KETK)- A pet tiger was rescued from freezing temperatures in San Antonio, and she arrived at Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas on Wednesday.

The six-month-old and 60-pound feline was wearing a harness when she was found by Bexar County authorities, according to the humane society. She was also named Elsa after the frozen character and was taken to a local wildlife rehabilitation center once the weather became warm enough to transport her to her new home.

Elsa and the Black Beauty staff traveled five hours to the East Texas animal sanctuary, and the trip went well. Elsa rolled around in her bed, which was made of hay, to pass the time.

Noelle Almrud, senior director of Black Beauty, said, Elsa is playful, but she has some scars from her time in captivity.

“Sadly, she spent her first few months of life as someone’s pet. The dog harness she was wearing is a harsh reminder of the unnatural life wild animals are forced to endure in captivity. Elsa has a raw area on her forehead from rubbing on her cage from stress, and fur missing where the harness once was,” said Almrud.

The senior director also mentioned that Elsa was not on an appropriate diet, which would have affected her health. Fortunately, the team at Black Beauty found the feline on time and will be able to help her.

Almrud was also hopeful about Elsa’s future.

“We expect her to quickly acclimate to her large, natural habitat and start behaving more like a tiger than a pet. We will provide everything she needs to have all of her physical and emotional needs met and give her the fairytale ending she deserves.” 

Elsa will be quarantined for the next 30 days so the team at Black Beauty can make sure she is in good health. Once Elsa grows up more, she will be moved to a bigger space and might join Loki, a tiger who arrived at Black Beauty in Feb. 2019.

Loki was found at an abandoned house in Houston and was inside a cage where he could “barely move.” Loki and Elsa are currently in habitats that are next to each other.

“Extreme confinement in small and barren cages, improper diets, inadequate shelter, lack of veterinary care, unending boredom, and no ability to express normal behaviors are just some of the situations wild animals kept as pets typically face,” wrote the humane society.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States reminded people that tigers are dangerous animals.

“Small young tigers like Elsa quickly become large, dangerous and deadly. Private possession of tigers as pets, and their use in cub petting ‘operations’ like we saw in Tiger King, is a serious and sometimes deadly problem in this country. Hundreds of people – including children- have been seriously injured or killed as a result of the cruel and unacceptable epidemic of owning big cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act must be passed immediately in order to stop people from treating tigers as if they were pets,” said Block.

In Texas, there have been tragic accidents involving tigers. A 3-year-old boy was killed by a relative’s tiger, and a 4-year-old had his arm torn off by a 400-pound tiger. Additionally, a 10-year-old girl was killed by a feline that seized her by the neck.

Additionally, other wild animals that are traded are reptiles and primates.

The humane society also shared the following facts:

  • Exotic animals are readily available to anyone who wants to buy or own one. There is no uniform regulation determining who can possess big cats or other dangerous wild animals in the U.S.
  • Thousands of wild animals are kept in grossly substandard conditions at poorly run roadside and traveling menageries, pseudo-sanctuaries, and as pets in private collections.
  • Thirty-five states have already passed meaningful laws regarding the private possession of big cats.
  • Texas SB 641 – legislation championed by state Senator Joan Huffman and Senator Carol Alvarado that would have prohibited private ownership in Texas, made it through the full Senate during the 2019 session. The bill was stalled in the House Public Health Committee and ultimately did not pass. We are planning to reintroduce the bill in 2021. Currently, the private possession of dangerous wild animals is still legal in much of Texas.

“At the federal level, the Big Cat Public Safety Act (HR 263) would improve the welfare of captive big cats and protect public safety by prohibiting keeping big cats as pets and banning public contact with tigers, lions and other dangerous cat species—for instance in activities where people pay to pet, feed or take pictures with big cat cubs,” said the humane society.

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