Authorities Searching for Tiger After Sighting in Tennessee

Authorities in Tennessee are on the hunt for a tiger after a Knox County Sheriff's deputy spotted the big cat roaming near Knoxville, Tennessee late Wednesday night. According to a press release, the Knox County Sheriff's Office Patrol Units, Animal Control, Air Watch, TWRA, KPD's Animal Control Unit and Representatives with Tiger Haven has been deployed to aid in the search.

According to local station WBIR, the search began Wednesday night after a law enforcement official spotted the tiger in the Forks of the River Industrial Park, a sprawling 1,460-acre estate. A BOLO alert – "be on (the) look-out" – was immediately issued, and a search promptly began. Various agencies were brought in to assist in the search, including Tiger Haven, a nonprofit providing a sanctuary for big cats in Roane County.

A second sighting was reported at approximately 7 a.m. local time Thursday morning. WVLT 8 reports that the sighting occurred near Thorngrove Pike in Knoxville, and crews were quickly sent to the area to investigate. Authorities said that they also received multiple calls overnight on possible sighting in the areas around John Sevier Highway near Thorngrove Pike and on Bales Lane.

At this time, it is unclear where the big cat may have come from. The nearby Knoxville Zoo has confirmed that all of its tigers are accounted for and remain secured in their enclosures. In a statement, the Knoxville Zoo said, "We want to reassure everyone that our Zoo Knoxville Malayan tigers Arya, Bashir and Tanvir are all safely accounted for. Our team is standing by to assist if needed. If you have information, please contact the Knox County Sheriff's Office."

As of Thursday morning at 8 a.m, the sheriff's office said the tiger had not been captured. In an effort to catch the tiger, TWRA officials have confirmed that a trap has been set. If the tiger is caught, it will be transported to Tiger Haven. Anyone who may have information on a missing tiger and those who wish to report a possible sighting is being asked to call the sheriff's office at 865-215-2243.