Is this true? Can anyone confirm this? Taken from the Ticats Web page.
April 04, 2010
It is confirmed.
After weeks of speculation, a photo has captured a large cat roaming downtown Hamilton. On Friday, April 2nd at 10:33 p.m., Jason Riley got more than a shock on his walk home through Gore Park.
"I couldn't believe my eyes," said Riley, "I just froze. I didn't know what to do."
But what Riley did do, was capture what many have believed for weeks.
"I had heard whisperings that there was possibly a tiger in the city, but like everyone else I didn't believe it, so I knew I had to get a photo. I was far enough away from it that it still hadn't noticed me. I slowly pulled out my phone and just as I took the photo, he looked back at me."
What happened next gets foggy for Riley.
"I think I heard a roar, I don't know. I knew I had to get out of there fast. I didn't want to stick around, that thing was massive. I just started to run. I ran for what seemed like eternity and then called the cops."
But by the time the police showed up to the spot of the Gore Park sighting, the animal was gone. However, the photo was not. Riley turned over his phone to the Police for examination. Experts have confirmed that the picture has not been doctored. Captured on Riley's camera phone appears to be a Siberian tiger, how it got here remains a mystery.
Local zoos have indicated that they aren't missing any animals. Police are leaning towards exotic pet owners for help. It's estimated that 500 exotic cats exist in Ontario as pets. Police are contacting all owners about their pet's location and are encouraging them to come forward with any information about a missing tiger.
However, authorities aren't discounting other possible theories. Hamilton harbour is a busy international port. It is possible that the tiger could have been transported by boat totally undetected.
"We are exploring every possible scenario," said Sergeant Barrows. "Our concern first and foremost is the safety of the citizens of Hamilton while finding this animal's proper owner or home."
Riley's account was not the first report of the animal. Early sightings began surfacing about the large cat on February 14th, however officials believed the sightings to be large feral cats. Riley's photo changes that.
"With the recent evidence, we have intensified our investigation. A special task force has been created. We are doing everything in our power to track down the animal," said Barrows.
Police may not have to go far to find it.
"These are sophisticated animals," according to author and tiger expert, Jack Zilly. "Their sophistication combined with the number of abandoned buildings in a downtown area and it's not impossible to think that a tiger could create an urban den. Tigers like the darkness as it is and depending on the domestication of this particular animal it may know enough to stay away from crowds or humans and continually avoid detection."
Due to the uniqueness of the situation, the Public Health and Safety Board isn't taking any chances. Many people may be curious about seeing the exotic animal, but authorities are asking residents to resist the temptation.
"Tigers are extremely dangerous animals," said Mike Blum, spokesperson for the Public Health and Safety Board, "they are large, powerful hunters that could severely hurt you. At this point there is no telling what type of mental state the animal is in. As a result, we are taking all necessary precautions."
It has issued a code 3 warning, advising downtown residents to remain indoors and lock all windows and doors. People should be aware of their surroundings at all times and stay alert.
The Public Health and Safety Board has set up a hotline for residents with any information or questions regarding the cat. You can reach them at 1-877-777-PHSB (7472). As well, their website, www.phsb.ca, features up to the minute reports, videos, and tips for staying safe.