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Arizona tiger cub rehabilitated after illegal sale

The cub now lives in a special enclosure at a conservation center in Scottsdale, where she gets the care she needs, including plenty of toys to stay busy.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A tiger cub illegally listed for sale for $25,000 on social media by a Phoenix man is now thriving at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.

Carlos Alcaraz was taken into custody by Phoenix police in January after investigators executed a search warrant and rescued the tiger that had reportedly been advertised online, police said.  

Several other animals were found at Alcaraz's home, including baby snapping turtles and an American Alligator.

Alcaraz allegedly told police he purchased the tiger for $8,000 from a man in Arizona, court records show.

SWCC said the cub now lives in a special enclosure in the animal hospital in Scottsdale, where she gets the care she needs, including plenty of toys and entertainment to keep her busy.

RELATED: Rescued tiger getting the care she needs 

At just four weeks old, she was a little wobbly, but after being put on a specific diet for tiger cubs, she is now eating four pounds of food every day and has grown a lot.

The sanctuary said she spends her daytime in an outdoor enclosure with lots of toys to play with, pools of water to splash in and perches to practice jumping. At four months old, she now weighs 85 pounds and growing. 

SWCC lead education specialist Robyn Moul said the sanctuary's interaction with the tiger has changed. They used to be able to be in with her more, but now in just a few short weeks, she's grown so big that they're very rarely in her same space, and if so, they have to have a red board in front of them, which is what they would normally use to deflect her into her crate or a different area.

"We have to protect ourselves because she wants to do those flying tackles; it could certainly take us down. We just can't wait to get her to her forever home," Moul said.

And that forever home has already been decided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game & Fish.

As long as the tiger is considered evidence, SWCC will be her holding facility, and when the case wraps up, she will go to a large out-of-state wildcat sanctuary.

Moul reiterated that having a tiger as a pet in Arizona is illegal. They wish everyone would adopt the same legislation where wild animals are not kept as pets.

'"They do not make good pets.  We're just continuing that trend where there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild," Moul said. 

If you see someone advertising to sell a wild animal on social media, you are encouraged to call law enforcement. 

🐅Tiger Update!🐾 She's still safe, sound, and healthy in the sanctuary. She spends her daytime in an outdoor enclosure...

Posted by Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center on Saturday, April 29, 2023

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