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DEBUNKED: Tiger Spotted on the Shores of the Rio Grande

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Although social media posts have been circulating about the possibility that a tiger was spotted along the Rio Grande, reliable sources have debunked them. The posts have been shared widely, similar to those from 2018 which stated that hippos were also spotted in the river. However, KGNS reported that the Laredo Police Department, as well as the Lamar Bruni Vergara Center, have identified no sightings or reports.

The picture circulating around the internet world is that of a tiger partially submerged in the river, amid some reeds. It’s been shared on Facebook, which generated some uptake and resharing, before confirmation that any of it was true. For whatever reason, tigers do, in fact, appear to hold some sort of fascination for Texas exotic pet fans. In 2017, the Houston Chronicle stated: “Estimates put Texas’ tiger population up to a few thousand. But the Department of State Health Services, which oversees ownership of dangerous wild animals in Texas, has 47 permits on record for tigers owned outside accredited groups like circuses, laboratories and zoos…” The paper further went on to reveal that the state was having a hard time keeping records on the tiger population in Texas, which is understandable considering anyone with access to plastic can purchase a tiger cub online.

DEBUNKED: Tiger Spotted on the Shores of the Rio Grande

Photo: Facebook/Eagle Pass News Leader

In the meantime, there are “Caging Requirements And Standards For Dangerous Wild Animals” provided under the Texas Administrative Code. However, that doesn’t address those who don’t apply for permits. All of that being said, it’s understandable why so many would believe that such a cat could be seen in the Rio Grande, but authorities and local press which have debunked the post are now trying to get the word out that this wasn’t the case. The only real lesson in this is to investigate further before you quickly hit the “share” button on your social media.