“I’m having a hard time understanding how they thought their plan would work out,” Khetan told The Dodo. “Selling an animal, taping them into a box and sedating them with no food was not a well-thought-out idea, which makes me think this necessarily isn’t someone part of an experienced criminal enterprise.”
While it’s unclear why the tiger was being shipped, Khetan said it’s likely the cub could have been intended as a pet or to be featured in an animal attraction. In Mexico, Khetan added, some resorts have employees walk sedated animals around for guests to pet and photograph.
Since there are a number of people who breed tigers within the U.S. and Mexico, it’s also likely that the cub was bred within North or Central America, not shipped in from Asia. Many are bought as pets — and once they grow too large to be handled by people, they are sold to a roadside zoo or confined to a crate.