Woman finds Hebron man’s tiger head, hide
March 6, 2009
By FRANK ABDERHOLDEN
Everyone has seen a pillow or other item that obviously fell out of a moving truck, but for one woman last week the found item was anything but ordinary.
On Route 120 near Route 12, a woman came across a milk crate with a white tiger head on top. Inside the crate was the rest of the tiger skin. She turned it over to Lakemoor police.
“It was a hide with a head attached,” said Matt Karras, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He kept it in a freezer and waited for that weird telephone call from the owner who lost it.
“I called the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and told them, ‘You are going to get a strange call, but it’s true and I have it,'” he said.
Sure enough, man from Hebron in McHenry County called to claim the skin and head that he intended to have made into a rug. He received it from a veterinarian who put down the 18-year-old female because of kidney problems.
The animal had been at Hawthorn Corp., a facility near Richmond that raises white tigers and elephants for circuses.
“It was given to him. It can’t be sold. In fact, if he ever wants to get rid of it, he must return it,” Karras said.
He also said the Captive Wildlife Safety Act that prohibits the importation of certain big cats only applies to live animals.