Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 16 News List

... For new lives in wildlife sanctuaries out in the country

AP , NEW YORK

A tiger lounges in a Harlem apartment in this New York Police Department video image before the animal was tranquilized and removed.

PHOTO: AP

A tiger and an alligator found in a Harlem apartment were sent to wildlife sanctuaries in Ohio and Indiana on Sunday while their owner recovered from bite wounds inflicted by the big cat.

Police said Antoine Yates, 31, would face reckless endangerment charges after he gets out of a hospital in Philadelphia, where he fled. He was listed in good condition.

A team of animal control officers, the police and Bronx Zoo workers managed to remove the animals from Yates' fifth-floor apartment in a Harlem housing project last Saturday.

Wes Artope, director of the city's animal shelters, said the tiger, an orange and white Siberian-Bengal mix, had been kept in the apartment since he was a six-week-old cub.

The tiger and the 1.5m-long alligator (cayman) both in good condition, were taken first to a local shelter, then to a Long Island animal sanctuary and then to Ohio, Artope said.

The tiger went to Noah's Lost Ark in Berlin Center, Ohio, a licensed preserve for exotic animals. The facility isn't equipped for reptiles, director Ellen Whitehouse said Sunday, so the

alligator went on to an Indiana

sanctuary.

The ``terrified'' tiger was roaring and snarling as he came out of a tranquilizer haze in what Whitehouse believed was his first time in a cage, she said. "He just really needs time to be left alone," Whitehouse said.

The tiger was to be examined by a veterinarian yesterday and will stay in his own outdoor enclosure for at least a month before before being introduced to the sanctuary's other 45 big cats.

It will take the cat some time to adjust to seeing trees and birds, Whitehouse said, adding, "I'd love to see what the inside of the house looked like."

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