LOS ANGELES (CN) – A tiger cub that appeared in a popular – and controversy-courting – YouTube star’s video is at the center of an investigation by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, which charged a man Wednesday on suspicion of mistreating the animal.
The cub first appeared in an Instagram post with a model and was reported to law enforcement last October.
That anonymous tip to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife kicked off an investigation.
Wildlife wardens used the social media post to identify Nicholas Perkins, 32. Authorities charged Perkins with four criminal counts Wednesday, including two counts of illegal possession of a tiger, mistreatment of a tiger and possession of anabolic steroids.
Investigators said they were able to pinpoint the cub’s location after it appeared in a YouTube video by popular vlogger Logan Paul in October. Paul’s YouTube channel has over 15 million subscribers and that extra exposure – 8 million views of the video with the tiger cub – helped in locating the animal.
While serving a search warrant at Perkins’ home earlier this month, authorities found the cub was living in poor conditions and was being fed kitten milk replacement formula with a baby bottle.
LA City Attorney Mike Feuer said it’s illegal to keep tigers and other exotic animals as pets in California.
“Keeping these potentially dangerous animals in a residential setting poses a serious safety risk for residents and animals alike,” Feuer said in a statement.
Perkins faces up to 2 ½ years in jail and $4,000 in fines if convicted.
Feuer said authorities placed the unnamed cub in a large cat rescue and sanctuary in Los Angeles County. The animal has made a full recovery.