It was just a regular day on the job for Border Patrol agent Marshall Maynard… until he spotted three suspicious people carrying a duffel bag.
When they were spotted, they dropped the bag and ran, but when Marshall went to inspect the contents, he never imagined he’d find Kenobi. The tiger cub was unconscious, stuffed inside the duffel and “on death’s doorstep.”
The three people were trying to smuggle him across the border in Brownville, Texas. When Marshall realized that Kenobi was in horrible shape, he jumped into action.
He brought the 3-month-old cub to the city’s Gladys Porter Zoo, where vets discovered he had a 107-degree fever and likely would have died within the next 30 minutes.
Safe at his temporary home, Kenobi slowly regained his strength over the next three months and doubled in weight. Zoo officials took the opportunity to educate the public about the dangers of wildlife trafficking. Meanwhile, news of his ordeal captured the nation’s attention, and people flocked to see the frisky young cub, who the zoo’s senior veterinarian, Thomas DeMaar, described as “extremely playful.”
“When it comes to people in the public, he seems very alert and he probably would want to interact with all the people if the window wasn’t there,” he said.
How gorgeous is he?!
The best part? He’ll soon have a playmate!
Late last month, Kenobi was transported to In-Sync Exotics, a wildlife sanctuary, joining dozens of other exotic animals, including lions, tigers, cougars, and leopards. He’s settling in to his new digs just fine, officials say, and it won’t be long before he’s officially introduced to his new roommate, a white tiger cub named Kylo Ren who was born at the facility in early March.
So much for having a single. But being an only child can be lonely; they’ll soon be fighting tooth and claw over their toys and all the other things siblings squabble over. That’s just part of the assimilation process, and In-Sync explains that having another cub to play and interact with stimulates healthy growth and development.
When Kylo Ren goes out to one of the big playgrounds each afternoon, Kenobi is moved into Kylo Ren’s run, to help them both get used to each other’s scent. When they are fed, we put Kenobi in a roll cage right up close to Kylo Ren (still with one fence between them), so they learn that being close to each other has pleasant associations.
Vicky is monitoring their reactions to each other very closely, and when she feels they are ready, she will start introducing them for very heavily supervised “play dates.”
Those playdates just started a few days ago, and judging by the photos, we think these two will become the best of friends!
Watch the video to learn more about Kenobi’s story and share to spread thanks to everyone who was involved in helping bring this cub back from the brink!