A large white tiger killed by authorities in Querétaro could be the feline that had been attacking livestock in Guanajuato, authorities said.
State officials opted to kill the animal due to the threat it posed to local people after livestock was attacked just hours earlier, the Querétaro state coordination for Civil Protection (CEPCQ) said on Sunday.
The state hopping feline was spotted by people in the community of La Peña in Huimilpan, a village close to the Guanajuato border and Apaseo el Grande, where sightings of a tiger and attacks on livestock were reported in February. Apaseo el Grande is 23 kilometers east of Celaya, while La Peña is about 39 kilometers south of Querétaro city.
Municipal police, Civil Protection agents and an animal control unit all helped to kill and transport the tiger.
But a Guanajuato animal advocacy group that consulted on the case of the Apaseo el Grande livestock attacks said it is not the same animal.
“When there was the reported sighting of the tiger in the area of Apaseo el Grande, the residents said at that time that it was an orange animal; that was always the description that was used,” said Erik Laguna, the coordinator of the organization Conexión Animal.
What’s more, the tracks found in Apaseo el Grande were those of an adolescent animal, Laguna said, while the white tiger killed in Querétaro appears to have been an adult.
The livestock attacks began in Apaseo in December, but it wasn’t until February 19 that the mayor, José Luis Ontiveros Usabiaga, felt there was enough evidence of the presence of a tiger to issue a warning.
Ontiveros said in February that 16 cattle had been attacked and told people to watch their children, remain in populated areas and keep their livestock safe. The communities put on alert were Comonfort, Pichacho, Potrero and Rosales.
The CEPCQ said it plans to compare samples in order to determine whether the white tiger killed was the same animal seen in Apaseo el Grande.
Appearances of the Asian predator in Mexico are disconcertingly common: in November, a Bengal tiger was captured near the Tapalpa-Atemajac highway in Jalisco, and drivers stopped to take its photograph, the newspaper Milenio reported.
On March 12, a Bengal tiger was captured in a house in Chimalhuacán, México state, and a cub was rescued in Celaya, Guanajuato, last week.
Meanwhile, three Bengal tigers under the responsibility of federal and state authorities died of starvation in a cage in Guerrero in February.