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African porcupine escapes from Tiger Creek employee’s Texas home

A crested porcupine named Hela escaped from a Flint, Texas home on Feb. 28, 2023.

An African crested porcupine named Hela is on the loose in Texas after escaping from the home of a Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary employee.

Tiger Creek employee Natasha Chab, who also runs A Wild Life Animal Rehabilitation Service, posted on social media March 1, 2023, that Hela the porcupine escaped from her yard in Flint last night.

Crested porcupines are fast becoming popular in the exotic animal trade. Because of their non native status, they don’t require a special permit, which is needed for owning a native North American porcupine.

Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary is an unaccredited roadside zoo in Tyler, Texas, that is currently being sued by Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act.

ALDF contends that Tiger Creek eviscerated the big cats’ population at the nonprofit through a careless approach to providing timely and adequate veterinary care. Click here to read more about Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary.

Aside from caring for the animals at Tiger Creek, Chab and director Emily Owen also purchase and collect exotic animals, which they keep at their residential homes. Roadside Zoo News obtained evidence that some of the exotic pets were purchased using nonprofit animal sanctuary funds or were obtained utilizing Tiger Creek’s federal license.

The social media posts about the missing porcupine do not include contact information for who to call if the animal is found. A search for Hela is expected to be underway this evening.


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