Animal Rescuer Cited in Arizona for Having Tiger

The director of the Wildlife Waystation in Little Tujunga Canyon was cited in Arizona this week for having a Bengal tiger on property where she plans to open a rescue facility similar to the one she founded here about 25 years ago.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials said Martine Colette did not have permits to keep the 20-week-old male tiger she rescued in January. Authorities cited her for a misdemeanor and took the cub.

“Officers spoke with her about it several times,” said Rory Aikens, a spokesman with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Aikens said Game and Fish officers discovered the tiger earlier this year while doing inspections associated with Colette’s effort to obtain a permit to establish a wild animal rescue center.

She still runs the Wildlife Waystation here and plans to commute between California and Arizona after opening the new center.


She acknowledged that Arizona Game and Fish officials visited her Mohave Valley property several times to discuss permits, but said, “They never told me I couldn’t keep the tiger there.”

Colette said she got the Bengal tiger, a native of India that can grow to 600 pounds, from a woman in Missouri who contacted her after a man dropped the cub off at her dog grooming shop.

“The tiger got ill and she panicked,” Colette said. “She was afraid it could die.”

Colette’s court date is March 15. She plans to get the cub back and obtain the zoo permit necessary to open a wild animal rescue in Arizona.

“Part of the reason I selected northwest Arizona is because there are no zoo or wildlife facilities there, nothing for children,” Colette said.