Confirmed: Large tiger escapes photo shoot inside vacant Packard Plant

Tiger found at the Packard Plant. Photo via Andy Didorosi's Facebook page.
Tiger found at the Packard Plant. Photo via Andy Didorosi’s Facebook page.

A large tiger escaped during a photo shoot at the abandoned Packard Plant on Detroit’s east side late this morning, prompting police and wildlife officials to rush to the sprawling property.

Two urban explorers spotted the tiger in a stairwell and posted videos and photos on social media.

What originally looked like a well-conceived hoax turned out to be real, according to police and a Packard Plant employee.

The tiger, along with a wolf and bobcat, were brought into the Packard Plant in cages as part of a photo shoot led by British photographer David Yarrow. Kari Smith, director of development for the Packard Plant, said the photographers were given permission to enter the dilapidated property, but they never mentioned they were bringing exotic, potentially deadly animals.

“This is not something that we would allow to happen here,” Smith told “This is not something that we condone in any way.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • cleaner

    These are disgusting and dangerous surroundings to let any animal loose.

  • bebow

    No respect.

  • James

    According to Yarrow’s facebook page they obtained the proper licensing from the city of Detroit (who knows if it’s true)…

    David Yarrow Photography confirms the presence of live animals at a photoshoot at the Packard Plant in Detroit. As with all our work across the world, appropriate licences were secured from the relevant agencies in the city of Detroit. We apologise for any concern or confusion regarding the use of these animals for a photoshoot which we believed to be approved the City of Detroit. At no point were there any animals loose or out of control as mentioned in social media.

    As an avid conservationist, David Yarrow uses his imagery to draw attention for the critical need to protect our wildlife. Whilst most of his photography is on location, a small number of images have featured animals cared for by the very best and respected animal experts in the world. In every case, David’s message is to preserve and nurture our precious wildlife for future generations.

    We would like to thank the City of Detroit for their support before and during this assignment.

    • muckraker_steve

      That is true – he did receive a permit from the police. I’m surprised the Packard Plant employees knew nothing about the animals coming.

  • banmar

    When I read the headline this morning, I initially thought that the tiger was being kept in a basement with no stairs like those pigs in the dead hoarder’s houses.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    It just sounds right. It just makes sense.