Oyster Creek officers look for tiger
By Nathaniel Lukefahr
Published December 18, 2009
OYSTER CREEK — Authorities on Thursday searched for a tiger a man had said was roaming Oyster Creek, but they never found the animal, its tracks or signs of damage to property or livestock.
Oyster Creek Police Chief Tim Bradberry, however, said the lack of evidence confirming a tiger in the area will not stop the search and police officers have been advised to be alert when on regular patrols.
“It bothers me because it’s something that can hurt someone,” Bradberry said. “But so far we’ve not personally seen any sign of it or its tracks.”
Police officers began searching for the tiger about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday after a man called the police station and said he had seen an “orange-and-black striped tiger” walking toward Oyster Creek about a quarter-mile away from the Buc-ee’s in the 4200 block of Highway 332, Bradberry said.
“The guy seemed pretty sure that it was a tiger,” Bradberry said.
But the search yielded nothing but the occasional tracks of small coyotes, which are common to the area, Bradberry said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens assisted the search using night vision technology, but found no traces of the animal, Bradberry said. Freeport police officers also searched the area around the convenience store, but came up empty, a Freeport police spokeswoman said.
“The only tracks we could find were coyote,” Bradberry said. “We couldn’t find any big cat tracks.”
Bradberry said he did not know of anyone in area who has tigers as pets. So if there is one roaming the area, it probably came from someone who possessed it illegally.
Were police officers to find proof of a tiger roaming the area, it would be the second found in the greater Houston area since 2008.
In the days following Hurricane Ike, a lion and tiger escaped from their enclosures at an exotic pets center on Crystal Beach, which is on the Bolivar Peninsula.