KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Sheriff’s Office issued a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) alert for a tiger late Wednesday night after reports of the animal being spotted in southeast Knoxville.
A trap was later set then removed Thursday by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; the reported tiger had not yet been located as of Thursday night.
TWRA officials said Friday they’ve found no hide nor hair in the area of the suspected sightings and there have been no new sightings from the public since Thursday.
By Friday, the search was no longer active, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. However, the tiger topic potentially highlights a larger issue regarding big cat captivity.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Units, Animal Control, Air Watch, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Knoxville Police’s Animal Control Unit and representatives with Tiger Haven began searching late Wednesday night to locate a tiger that was spotted by a Knox County deputy in the Forks of the River Industrial Park off of Island River Drive.
The KCSO deputy, who was off-duty at the time, reported seeing the animal, what appeared to be that of a tiger, walk out of the water around 8:30 p.m.
KCSO said just before midnight that there had been no other sightings “at this hour,” and would keep the public updated as more information becomes available.
Knox County dispatch said a report of an unconfirmed sighting of the tiger near Bales Lane/ Thorngrove Pike/ Gov. John Sevier Hwy area in East Knoxville was made around 7:30 a.m.
A humane bear trap using a rotisserie chicken as bait had been set for the animal Thursday, but was later removed due to inactivity; a TWRA officer was posted nearby to continue to monitor the area.
If captured, it will be taken to Tiger Haven in Roane County. Tiger Haven, located in Kingston, confirmed they are not missing any animals.
Zoo Knoxville, Tiger Haven and the Little Ponderosa Zoo all confirmed Thursday that all of their tigers had been accounted for.
The origin of the reported tiger remains unclear.
If anyone has any information on a missing tiger or locates the tiger, they’re asked to contact the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.