Indy arrived at the sanctuary in May of 2023. She was estimated to be about 5-6 months old at the time. Her rescue received a great deal of national attention.

In January of 2023, she’d been confiscated by Phoenix undercover police after her owner had illegally listed her for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $25,000. They found 23-pound her in a dog kennel in a closet of his home and arrested him.

She was temporarily cared for by Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) in Arizona during the ongoing legal case.  Having worked with SWCC, Arizona Game & Fish Department, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department on several cases over the years, they recommended permanent placement for Indy with us once her legal case was resolved.

We decided to call her Indy since we wanted her to serve as a reminder that tigers should be wild. Bengal tigers live wild in India, so Indy seemed like a perfect fit.

Indy, like so many other young cubs we’ve taken in, was part of the black-market exotic animal trade that continues to exist. Though the Big Cat Public Safety Act has passed, there are still calls coming in for many wild cats in need of rescue….just like her.

Our staff made the 3,400-mile roundtrip to pick Indy up, bringing her back to her forever home here at the sanctuary. At this point, she weighed 94 pounds and was growing fast!

She was the best traveler, playing with her toys, eating like a champ, and snoozing along the way without a care in the world.

Life at the Sanctuary

From the moment Indy arrived, she was right at home. She’s a very confident young tiger and the wonderful thing is, she will only know compassion and love the rest of her days.

Indy fell instantly in love with the grass in her habitat. This is the first time she’s experienced the softness of grass to roll   around in. Something so simple that we take for granted, but she was thrilled with the feeling of it!

Her very first day, she tossed toys around her habitat, chased floating toys in her large inground pool, jumped on rocks, clawed on logs.

But the most exciting thing by far was meeting her tiger cub neighbor Nova. This was the first time she’d seen another tiger!

At this point, Nova was about twice Indy’s size and age, but they engaged playfully right away.

Chuffing, paw touching, chasing along the fence line, it was all part of a wonderful “getting to know you” day for the two of them.

We’ll give Indy time to grow before trying any playdates, should they continue to get along.

The world just got so much bigger and full of fun for Indy. We can’t wait to see how her personality blossoms as she lives the rest of her days happily at the sanctuary.



Tiger cub seized from Phoenix home heads to Minnesota

A tiger cub that was rescued after her owner tried to sell her illegally online is heading to her forever home — a wildcat sanctuary in Minnesota. FOX 10’s Danielle Miller reports.

Man Tries To Sell Tiger Cub to Undercover Cops for $20,000, Gets Arrested

Tiger cub rescued in Arizona finds forever home at Minnesota’s Wildcat Sanctuary

According to officials at Sandstone’s The Wildcat Sanctuary, a 25-year-old Phoenix man put the cub, Indy, up for sale online for $25,000 earlier this year.


Man arrested after trying to sell tiger cub sentenced to 2 years probation

Fernando Cervantes Jr.

Arizona Republic

A man arrested earlier this year after trying to sell a tiger cub to an undercover Phoenix police officer will not be going to prison. Instead, Carlos Eduardo Castro-Alcaraz, 25, was sentenced to two years of supervised probation on Thursday morning.

Back in January, officers learned that he was trying to find interested buyers for a tiger cub on social media. After learning about the alleged plot by Castro-Alcaraz, officers then engaged with his social media profile and posed as a potential buyer.

He was selling the cub for $25,000, but undercover officers made a deal to buy the cub at a reduced price of $20,000 dollars. Officers arrested Castro-Alcaraz at his home near 27th Avenue and Baseline Road.

But the cub was not the only animal seized by authorities. An alligator and a dozen snapping turtles were seized and turned over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The animals temporarily stayed at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, the tiger cub, now named Indy, has been transferred to a permanent home at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota.

Apart from the two years of probation that Castro-Alcaraz was given on Thursday, he is also forbidden from owning exotic animals while on probation and has been ordered to pay $6,000 dollars in restitution.

He was also ordered to forfeit interest in the tiger, alligator and 12 snapping turtles that were taken away back in January.