MONTREAL — A tiger and two camels whose disappearance made international headlines were relaxing back at home on Tuesday after being found by Quebec provincial police.
Jonas the tiger and camels Shawn and Todd were found safe in their trailer on a rural road Monday evening after an alert passerby saw the trailer and tipped police.
“They were in great shape,” said Sgt. Ronald McInnis, a Quebec provincial police spokesman. “The veterinarian thinks that the people who stole the animals gave them something to eat and drink.”
Dehydration had been a big concern as zookeepers feared a lack of water over three days could prove deadly for the missing tiger.
The camels can go up to 10 days without drinking.
However, the tiger looked spry when police located the trailer around 8:30 p.m., roughly 40 kilometres from the motel parking lot where it was taken on Friday.
The long silver trailer was found sitting on the side of a small paved road under a tree in St-Edmond-de-Grantham, about 90 kilometres east of Montreal.
The trailer and the truck pulling it were snatched while its driver took a rest break during the long drive bringing the animals from Nova Scotia to the Bowmanville, Ont., zoo.
Head zookeeper Stefanie MacEwan said the public will have to wait a little longer before getting a look at the animals in their habitat.
“The veterinarian gave them a good bill of health,” she said Tuesday. “They’re not going to be on display today because the veterinarian wants to take extra precautions, just making sure everything is going well.”
The animals looked calm when they were found. One camel, who appeared to have a lopsided smile on his face, came to the door of the trailer after police opened it and craned his head outside.
MacEwan said staff at the zoo were “ecstatic” when they got the call that their charges had been found.
The animals were brought back to the zoo around 5 a.m. after being checked by a vet in nearby Drummondville and police had a chance to scour the trailer for evidence and fingerprints.
The attached truck had been found on the weekend.
MacEwan said the tiger was “back to his old self.”
“He was happy to see some familiar faces,” she said.
“The camels were doing great. I know myself and one of the other trainers got a nice big slobbery kiss as soon as we saw them,” MacEwan added. “We’re just glad to have the guys home.”
McInnis said police are still investigating and still don’t have a motive for the crime.
He acknowledged it’s one of the wildest cases investigated by the provincial police.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen that,” he said.