Stolen tiger, camels make public appearance

A tiger and two camels that made headlines when the trailer they were in was stolen from a parking lot in Quebec have made their first public appearance since being found on the weekend.

Tiger survived on cat food

Jonas the tiger appears to smile following his rescue Monday night. ((Quebec provincial police))
A Bengal tiger stolen in Quebec last week was kept in his cage and lived on cat kibble during the four days he was held captive by the thieves.

"The public was in no danger at any time," Bowmanville Zoo director Michael Hackenberger said Wednesday. "Jonas was never removed from his internal cage."

The 150-kilogram tiger and two camels — named Shawn and Todd — were on their way back to the zoo in Bowmanville, Ont., from Nova Scotia when the truck and trailer carrying the animals was snatched on Friday from a motel parking lot.

The trailer was located Monday night on the side of a small paved road under a tree in St-Edmond-de-Grantham, Que., roughly 40 kilometres from the parking lot where it was taken.

Police said they were acting on a tip from an alert passerby when they found the abandoned trailer on the country road.

Hackenberger said an undisclosed amount of money was involved in getting back the big cat and the camels.

The animals were returned to the zoo on Tuesday after being checked by a vet in Drummondville, Que., and appeared for a news conference on Wednesday.

"Our biggest fear was that specifically Jonas would become dehydrated and his kidneys would start to fail," said Wendy Korver, the Bowmanville zoo's veterinarian.

Most mammals can last three days without sufficient water, so they got to Jonas just in time, Korver said.
Shawn and Todd are shown following their rescue. Camels can survive without water for 10 days. ((Quebec provincial police))

The camels can go up to 10 days without drinking.

The discovery of the trailer brought a resolution to at least one element of what Sgt. Ronald McInnis, a Quebec provincial police spokesman, called one of the wildest cases ever investigated by the force.

"It's the first time I've seen that," he said Tuesday of the beast theft.

Police have yet to determine a motive and an investigation continues.

They and zoo officials have said they think thieves were originally after the truck and trailer and got in over their heads when they discovered the exotic creatures.

The truck was found last weekend.