Real or Rumor: Story spreading that tiger is on the loose - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Real or Rumor: Story spreading that tiger is on the loose

Posted: Updated:

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Residents in East County have been on high alert after seeing warnings online about a Bengal tiger on the loose in Boulevard. But now officials from the Fish and Wildlife Service say it's likely a hoax.

The first claim of a tiger in Boulevard started Friday when a Facebook page called Brush Fire Partyline posted a warning that the striped beast was spotted on the U.S. side of the border.

Another post claimed it came from Mexico and was spotted eating a deer.

But the California Department of Fish and Wildlife calls it all a likely hoax.

It started when a person was caught entering the country illegally claimed to see the tiger near the border.

"It's something we took very seriously," said Fish and Wildlife Captain Patrick Foy. "We sent a team out. Basically, everyone from that region worked on trying to verify whether this was an accurate report."

Gordon Dawson wrote on Facebook they saw officers on their ranch looking for it.

Fish and Wildlife says six officers were diverted from other cases to help federal officials set traps across the desert.

The sheriff's department and customs and border protection launched helicopters and reviewed trail cameras to detect a potential tiger.

"We have had tigers escape in California so it's something that we have to take seriously," said Capt. Foy.

After two-days of searching nothing was found and Fish and Wildlife says there are still no first-hand reports from witnesses.

"It is either outright a hoax or probably a hoax and [we have] enough that we can conclude our investigation in confidence that no one is going to be attacked by a tiger in Boulevard," said Foy.

And the picture of a tiger which was attached to the posts on social media turned out to be quite popular as it was also used in a similar hoax in Mumbai a few months ago.

The picture was actually taken at the Sahydari Tiger Reserve in india.

"People can post whatever they want on Facebook - it's not against the law. They post all kinds of crazy things - we've had alligator sightings and bear attack reports and now a tiger sighting," said Foy. "Although it's frustrating, at least with the last three big hoaxes that we've dealt with, the public has been able to rely upon our expertise to put it to bed."

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFMB-TV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.