UPDATE: Tiger cub rescued by CBP gets a new friend

UPDATE: Tiger cub rescued by CBP gets a new friend

SAN DIEGO, CA (Tucson News Now) - A tiger cub rescued by Border Patrol in August has a new home at the San Diego Zoo and now a new friend has joined him.

The National Zoo in Washington D.C. sent its Sumatran tiger cub to the San Diego Zoo after his mother rejected him.

Craig Saffoe, curator of Great Cats at the National Zoo said his team has mixed emotions, but they're excited for their cub's new life.

Having another tiger that is about his age to interact with will be tremendously beneficial to the both of them. They'll be able to play, wrestle and learn how to be tigers together, which is instrumental to his long-term social development."

Customs and Border Protection said officers rescued a tiger cub at the Otay Mesa port of entry Wednesday morning, Aug. 23.

An 18-year-old man arrived at the port of the entry from Mexico with a 21-year-old male passenger at about 1:30 a.m. The officer on duty referred them to further inspection, and that's when officers found the cub lying on the passenger side floor, according to a release.

CBP said officers held the cub in an animal crate until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came for the animal.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife took custody of the cub, and worked with San Diego Zoo Global, a conservation organization, to care for it.

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was arrested and taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego.

Officials did not release his name, but said he is awaiting arraignment.

"CBP officers are often faced with unusual situations," said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego. "The CBP officers at the Otay Mesa port of entry met the challenge head on and assisted in preserving the life of this endangered species."

CBP San Diego has been tweeting updates on the rescue cub after huge public interest.

CITES seeks to protect endangered species by regulating trade of animals and plants, and products made from them.

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