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Rescued tiger cub arrives at sanctuary

Duke leaves the Duke City

Duke, the tiger cub rescued during a criminal investigation last month, arrived Saturday to his forever home at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.  The approximately four-month-old cub made headlines when he was found in a plastic dog carrier in a private home in Albuquerque. He was brought to the ABQ BioPark for care until a new home could be found.

During his month-long-stay at the BioPark, Duke received a healthy diet of meat to support his growth and development. He gained over five pounds and can no longer fit in the carrier that brought him to the BioPark. The BioPark’s specially trained animal care staff spent hours with Duke every day for socialization and training. Duke has perfected some of his tiger manners, which will prepare him to socialize with other tigers at his new home. He also learned how to voluntarily enter his new, much larger crate for the trip to Colorado.

While the BioPark is dedicated to the care of all animals, which includes rescue work like this case, its priority is to prevent extinction. Because Duke’s genetic makeup is unknown, he does not fit with the BioPark’s commitment to Malayan tiger conservation. Malayan tigers are critically endangered. Fewer than 300, and perhaps as few as 150, remain in the wild. They face threats from poaching, declining prey populations and habitat destruction.

The BioPark Zoo has devoted 7,800 square feet in the upcoming Asia exhibit to Malayan tigers. Bunga, the BioPark’s current Malayan tiger, will move into this new state-of-the art home later this year. It is a large enough space to also support a female mate and cubs. It’s also a place where the community can develop deeper connections to Malayan tigers and learn about how to protect them.

For those who wish to support tiger conservation, we recommend the following:

  1. Help end the illegal wildlife trade. Do not choose a tiger as a pet. Not only is it illegal in New Mexico, keeping a tiger requires expensive food, specialized medical care, opportunities to appropriately interact with other tigers, and very large and secure housing. For more information, visit
  2. Purchase sustainable forest products. Malayan tigers are losing their habitat at a rapid pace. By selecting recycled and reusable products, you can slow the destruction of forests around the world.
  3. Donate to support tiger conservation. Numerous organizations exist to support ranger patrols, innovative agriculture and field research. Organizations like the New Mexico BioPark Society provide environmental education that lays the foundation for future science and conservation work in our community and beyond.

Duke will not be visible to the public in his new home until he reaches his adult size.


Media: Here is a link to two new images (taken Friday before his departure), and the original b-roll. These were all shot at the BioPark. We do not have any additional images from this weekend at the new location.