KEENESBURG, Colo. (KDVR) — A Bengal tiger cub is now calling Colorado home after a rough start to life in New Mexico.
At The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, there are hundreds of animals, each with a story about how they ended up in Colorado.
“We have over 100 tigers and over a hundred lions,” executive director Pat Craig said, adding, “250 bears, leopards, mountain lions, bobcats, wolves. Altogether, about 550 large carnivores.”
Last week, the sanctuary added a new member to the pack from New Mexico. Duke is a Bengal tiger cub who’s about 4 months old.
“The people that had him, he was seized in an illegal drug-related shooting that was down in Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Craig said. “They found a trail of blood to where this guy had a tiger cub and a little tiny carrier there.”
Police in Albuquerque provided FOX31 with a photo of Duke inside what looks like a small airport carrier crate for dogs.
“They had gotten him illegally, bought him in Mexico and brought him over across the border, and thought he’d make a great pet,” Craig said.
20-pound tiger cub to grow to 500 pounds
In a week at his Colorado home, Duke has almost doubled in size, Craig said. He’s just under 20 pounds now and will grow to about 450 to 500 pounds.
After about another week, Duke will move out of the veterinarian clinic at the sanctuary into a habitat outside, where he can play with other rescued tigers that are around his size.
Craig said it costs millions of dollars a year to rescue, feed and take care of the animals they have at their sanctuaries in Colorado. Donations are what have helped them take care of animals for over 40 years.