Brenda Gregorio-Nieto

Rescued Bengal Tiger ‘Moka' Celebrates First Year at Alpine Sanctuary

A hybrid Bengal tiger cub named Moka who was rescued from two smugglers in 2017 is celebrating his first year at Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary.

Moka was transferred to the Alpine sanctuary after U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized the cub at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in August 2017. Teenaged smugglers tried to pass it off as a house cat.

Moka, whose name means "chance," was quickly taken to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park shortly after for emergency surgery for intestinal adhesions. He then was transferred to the Alpine sanctuary.

“He is a happy young active tiger who spends his days playing with fellow rescued tiger Nola. He still tends to be scared of new things, but his friendship with Nola has helped him gain confidence. He loves to swim and play in the pool," said Gigi Theberge, Communications at Lions, Tigers and Bears. "We weighed him on Thursday and he is actually up to 320 pounds now."

Lions Tigers and Bears

Visitors can go visit Moka anytime at the sanctuary and learn about other rescued animals.

Since Moka is a generic tiger breed and doesn’t fit within zoo conservation guidelines and was transferred to the Alpine sanctuary.

A 9-week-old Sumatran tiger cub (left) arrived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on September 11. Keepers hoped the cub would bond with a 7-week-old Bengal tiger cub (right) confiscated on Aug. 23 at the U.S.-Mexico border. The cubs took to each other immediately, wrestling and jumping together.
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