2 tigers found in Valley get new home in Camp Verde

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(Source: Out of Africa Wildlife Park) (Source: Out of Africa Wildlife Park)
(Source: Out of Africa Wildlife Park) (Source: Out of Africa Wildlife Park)
© AZ Game and Fish Dept. © AZ Game and Fish Dept.
© AZ Game and Fish Dept. © AZ Game and Fish Dept.
© CBS 5 News © CBS 5 News

Two tiger cubs found in the backyards in two Valley neighborhoods are being taken care of at their new home in Camp Verde.

Arizona Game and Fish officials transferred the cubs to Out of Africa Wildlife Park on Tuesday.

Park officials said in a statement Friday, "They are doing very well and have been socializing with the staff and most especially with their caretakers."

Out of Africa employees said the cats were treated with love, evidenced by the way they interact with humans. But the cubs were lacking some nutrition, they said.

"We will start pouring in them vitamins and minerals, and 30 days from now you will not recognize them. They will look totally different," said Dean Harrison of Out of Africa.

One of the cubs was found in a Phoenix backyard on New Year's Eve and the second a few days later in Queen Creek.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department sprang into action after getting several tips from neighbors complaining of the tigers being kept in plain sight.

One complaint even alleged the owner was posting pictures of the tigers online.

"We received some calls about the roaring," said Randy Babb with the Game and Fish Department. "This is an animal you don't want in the apartment next door or the backyard next to you."

They discovered a juvenile orange tiger tied up in Phoenix with a collar on, as well as a white tiger that had been kept in a dog kennel in Queen Creek.

Both tigers are 8 months old and weigh about 200 pounds. Though they were kept in different places, Babb said they believe they belong to the same person. They said they likely were legally purchased in another state but aren't legal pets here.

The owner or owners still have not been found.

"These animals want space to roam in, and any kind of enclosure that you can provide in a backyard will be insufficient," Babb said. "You never know when something is going to turn, and when it does, when the animal is large like this and is a very powerful, very efficient predator, it can get ugly very quickly."

Park officials said a vet will be coming in next week for a wellness checkup before the two recovering tigers will be introduced to any other cats, as is protocol to prevent spreading any possible bacteria or parasite.

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