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d'oh! An exotic story, and I'm not lion'

Okay, picture this: You're a farmer in northeast Indiana, minding your own business, when you look across the field and see -- a full grown friggin' Bengal tiger!!!!

A Bengal tiger that escaped from the Black Pine Animal Park near Albion Tuesday afternoon, December 9, wandered right back home about eight hours later.

The incident started at 3:35 p.m. when Kevin Libben, a local volunteer firefighter, spotted the animal running loose on the northwest corner of his farm, just west of Albion. He notified the Noble County Sheriff's Department, which in turn called Black Pine. The park's executive director, Lori Gagen, discovered India, an 18 year old female Bengal tiger, had somehow gotten out of its enclosure.

Numerous members of the Sheriff's Department and Albion Police Department converged on the area and began searching. Police say the animal was described as docile, but also skittish around people; as with any wild animal, they approached the situation with caution.

At about 5 p.m. Gagen advised police she was with the tiger and requested tranquilizer darts, but an attempt to tranqulize India was only partially successful, and apparently resulted in her being spooked and getting away again.

Due to approaching darkness, Albion firefighters were dispatched to the scene, bringing with them thermal imaging cameras that could pick up an animal's heat signature in the dark. Searchers spotted India from a distance several times, but lost it again and had to call off the search at about 9:30 p.m. due to darkness and incliment weather. They planned to start searching again first thing in the morning, possibly with the assistance of an Indiana State Police aircraft.

However, Black Pine founder Karen Hoag had hopes that the tiger, which had been raised from a cub at the park, would return on its own. She camped out at the sanctuary near the closest access point into the compound. Hoag said she was encouraged when she heard the park's male lion, Kovu, roar: "I kept thinking 'you go Kuvo, call India home'."

Apparently it worked. At about 11:20 p.m. Hoag reported that the cat had returned on her own, and was secured inside the sanctuary's compound by an eight foot peremiter fence. Gagen came to the park to assist, and within the hour they managed to coax Indiana back into its den.

"We'd like to thank the county, state, town police and local fire departments for their support and working together with us," Hoag said. Park officials credited their response, and the park's emergency escape protocols, for helping bring the incident to a safe conclusion.

A gate accidentally left opened is blamed for the escape. Black Pine officials say they're going to investigate the incident and make changes to keep it from happening again.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 13th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
It sure got our attention -- CNN even called about it!
Dec. 10th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Aw! It sounded like India had a fun adventure! :D
Dec. 13th, 2008 08:39 am (UTC)
Yes, but I'll bet she came back for the same reason I would have -- she got cold and wet!
Dec. 10th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
LOL! Oh, dear. That would be too much excitement for me!
Dec. 13th, 2008 08:39 am (UTC)
It was certainly the talk of the town!
Dec. 10th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
hahaha, India's my favorite animal there. I can still remember when she was a cub and being SOOOOOOOO excited about her and her siblings. :) She's one of the reasons I'm so obsessed with tigers. :D

When I saw your link for this I was like "I bet it's her!"

At least out of all the animals that could escape the animal park, she's the one I'd pick, I don't think she'd hurt a fly unless she was extremely scared (though being away from home could do that).

Glad she's home safe and sound though, I'd hate for something to have had happened to her.
Dec. 13th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)
No, I agree -- unless she was cornered and panicked -- or maybe very, very starved -- I can't imagine her hurting anyone. But it could have gotten very bad if someone spotted her and panicked.
Dec. 13th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
yah... or was just plain stupid and shot her.

Everyone at the mall yesterday was "OMG, You're from Albion! Did you hear about that tiger?! OMG, she woulda scared me."

My reaction to it was "I woulda just gone up and hugged her" (and I wonder why everyone at work thinks I'm nuts, lmao!)
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Well, just going up and hugging her wouldn't have been a good idea. She was stressed and certainly scared, and might have reverted right back to the wild animal she truly is. It *probably* would have been all right, but under the circumstances it would have been a dangerous thing to do.

Kind of like telling my ex-wife a joke when she's PMSing. ;-)
Dec. 14th, 2008 07:46 am (UTC)
Dec. 19th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
Hey, Emily and I saw you at Macy's on Thursday! We were just talking about whether you were working when you walked right in front of us, talking on the phone to someone about how you were on your way to help a customer. We stalked you for a minute, but you looked really busy and, frankly, Macy's was heavy on the scents and it was starting to make my allergies flare up, so we headed for the door. We'll try to stop again after the Christmas rush!
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
lol... well, sorry I didn't notice you guys and say hi! And yah, Thursday definitely kept me on my toes!
Dec. 21st, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
You were steamrolling ahead and extremely busy!
Dec. 22nd, 2008 06:11 am (UTC)
hahaha.... doesn't suprise me. I'm constantly nuts lately!
Dec. 10th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Hmm - certainly not the sort of thing you see every day...
Dec. 13th, 2008 08:43 am (UTC)
Not around here, certainly!

I did spot a huge black cat in the area several years ago -- several other people did too, including the Karen Hoag from that article. We had a sighting, tracked it for awhile, and lost it, and for the rest of the year it was seen several times. It matched the description of a black leopard, and we never did find it or where it came from -- we figured a private owner might have gotten tired of feeding it.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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