The cat’s out of the bag and recovering safely at Gladys Porter Zoo after Border Patrol agents recovered a tiger cub abandoned by smugglers near the border fence in Brownsville.

The cat’s out of the bag and recovering safely at Gladys Porter Zoo after Border Patrol agents recovered a tiger cub abandoned by smugglers near the border fence in Brownsville.

Border Patrol Agent Marshall Maynard discovered the 2-month-old tiger cub motionless in a black duffel bag Monday after responding when three people who crossed the Rio Grande abandoned the animal and fled back to Mexico before the federal agents could close in on their location.

“I responded to some traffic, and that’s when I responded to a duffel bag just sitting on the ground,” Maynard said. “So that’s when I approached the bag, opened it up and I immediately knew that I had found something special.”

Maynard said he expected to find drugs in the black duffel bag.

“I wasn’t sure exactly what it would be,” Maynard said. “That was the last thing I actually expected.”

Maynard said he immediately radioed his colleagues to let them know he found a tiger cub, which was sedated.

Border Patrol Agent Juan Corona responded to Maynard’s location, and the pair placed the tiger cub in the back of Maynard’s vehicle for his safety “and to get some air on it because you could tell that the animal had suffered.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the cub energetically paced back and forth in its holding cell at Gladys Porter Zoo’s hospital facility. A red toy sat near a blue blanket on which the tiger slept the night before.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com