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Zoo takes custody of tiger cub seized at border crossing

A small male Bengal tiger cub was brought to the Paul Harter Veterinary Hospital at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Wednesday, August 23, 2017. (Photo courtesy San Diego Zoo Global)

SAN DIEGO - A Bengal tiger cub seized at a border crossing Wednesday is in good health, veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park said Friday.

"His heart and lungs sound good, his blood work looked great and, since he took a bottle from us, it’s a good sign he’ll continue to thrive,” said Dr. Jim Oosterhuis, principal veterinarian.

“I estimate the cub to be between 5 and 6 weeks old, and he weighs in at a little over 6 pounds,” Dr. Oosterhuis said. “He has teeth coming in, so he’ll be teething in the next week or two—so, animal care staff will have a little chore getting him through that.”

Customs and Border Patrol agents seized the tiger cub from a 2017 Chevy Camaro driven by an 18-year-old U.S. citizen entering the country from Mexico.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers brought the cub to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

After a checkup at the hospital, the cut was taken to Ione and Paul Harter Animal Care Center at the Safari Park.

"The cub is housed in an isolated area, away from other animals, in accordance with San Diego Zoo Global’s protocols for new arrivals," the Zoo said in a statement. "Guests at the Safari Park will be able to view the tiger cub at the Animal Care Center’s nursery window, at various times throughout the day. San Diego Zoo Global will continue to provide care and sanctuary for the cub until U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials determine his permanent home."

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