A tombstone has been erected for an infamous New York City tiger called Ming, who died earlier this year, aged 19.
Ming, who was born in 2000 in Racine, Minnesota, made headlines in October 2003 after he was discovered living in the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem with his owner Antoine Yates.
Since being rescued from the home, Ming had been living at the Noah’s Lost Ark Animal Sanctuary in Berlin Center, Ohio.
Ming died ‘peacefully’ on February 4 from natural causes.
According to the New York Post, Ming was cremated and buried at The Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in upstate New York.
A tombstone was also erected, with the engraving, ‘Ming, Tiger of Harlem’.
The famous New York City tiger, Ming (pictured), has tragically died. He was 19 years old
Ming (pictured), who was born in 2000 in Racine, Minnesota, made headlines in October 2003 after he was discovered living in the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem with his owner Antoine Yates
Since being rescued from the home, Ming had been living at the Noah’s Lost Ark Animal Sanctuary (pictured at the sanctuary) in Berlin Center, Ohio. Ming actually died ‘peacefully’ on February 4 from natural causes
Below the engraving, the inscription reads: ‘Legendary NYC tiger, raised in apartment 5E in the Drew Hamilton Houses at 141st and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
‘In 2003, after three years of living in the apartment, Ming was rescued by the authorities and relocated to Noah’s Lost Ark Animal Sanctuary in rural Ohio where he lived out the rest of his days in comfort and peace.’
The final line on the tombstone says Ming was ‘loved by many’.
It all began in October 2003, when Yates was taken to a local hospital after he was attacked by Ming.
Yates claimed that he had been savaged by a pit bull terrier, but doctors knew the bite marks were too big.
Police were alerted and officers were sent to the man’s apartment building located at 141st Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard.
They made their way up to apartment 5E where they were met by the most startling sight: a huge tiger peering from the fifth-floor window.
The tiger was being kept inside the apartment along with a 4-foot-long alligator, named Al.
It all began in October 2003, when Yates (pictured after the attack) was taken to a local hospital after he was attacked by Ming. Yates claimed that he had been savaged by a pit bull terrier, but doctors knew the bite marks were too big
Police were alerted and officers were sent to the man’s apartment building (pictured) located at 141st Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard
The discovery at the Harlem apartment set in motion a commando-style police operation.
They drilled a hole in the front door and used a remote camera to watch the giant cat lumbering around.
Then an officer abseiled down the side of the building to shoot the tiger through a window with a tranquilizer dart.
At the time, neighbors told authorities that they were not surprised to learn about the mini-zoo in Yates’ apartment.
They told officials about hearing roars and reptile sounds, and that there was a strong odor coming from the apartment.
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After being charged with reckless endangerment, Yates told a TV crew at the time: ‘I take this from my heart, I feel for animals so much.’
Authorities eventually found out that Yates had purchased Ming from the BEARCAT Hollow Animal Park in Racine, Minnesota.
During an episode of Animal Planet’s Fatal Attractions, Detective Martin Duffy relived how the tiger was initially peaceful -but then charged at him.
‘All I saw was his giant head with a mouthful of giant teeth coming at me,’ he recalled.
‘That’s when I was like, “All right, I’m going to be eaten by a tiger”,’ he told the show.
The discovery at the Harlem apartment set in motion a commando-style police operation. They drilled a hole in the front door and used a remote camera (footage of Ming) to watch the giant cat lumbering around
Then an officer (pictured) abseiled down the side of the building to shoot the tiger through a window with a tranquilizer dart
Eventually, the sedatives took hold and Ming was carried from the building by animal welfare officers (pictured)
Yates also appeared on the episode where he told showrunners that he loved having pets from a young age.
‘What attracted me to animals was the peace, the peace of being with them. Everything is unconditional – you love them and they love you back.’
Yates claimed the ‘hell on earth’ environment of Harlem encouraged his passion to stay inside with his pets, away from the dangers outside.
‘One of my first exotic animals was a squirrel monkey – then I started getting into boa constrictors and pythons,’ he added.
His family had planned to open a zoo, he says – so he ended up pretending they already had one to con his way into owning two tigers and two lions.
He ended up getting rid of three of them – but was too attached to Ming to let him go.
‘My relationship with Ming was very, very unique,’ he insisted. ‘We had a bond that was unbelievable.’
Ming grew to be a 500-pound adult tiger - but the beast had never left Yates’ small apartment, which caused him initial unhappiness when he was taken to the Ohio sanctuary.
‘To be close to such a beautiful animal 24 hours a day is magical. I began to really understand a big cat. At that point I was ready to disconnect from the world,’ he said.
Their dangerous relationship emerged when Antoine’s brother Aaron visited and was stunned to meet the feline resident.
‘All I see is one eye almost the size of a pool ball. I jumped back and shouted, “Yo what you doing man!”,’ Aaron recalled at the time.
Yates was charged with reckless endangerment and spent six months in jail. Authorities eventually found out that Yates had purchased Ming (pictured with Yates) from the BEARCAT Hollow Animal Park in Racine, Minnesota
During an episode of Animal Planet’s Fatal Attractions, Detective Martin Duffy (pictured) recalled the incident. ‘All I saw was his giant head with a mouthful of giant teeth coming at me. That’s when I was like, “All right, I’m going to be eaten by a tiger”,’ he told the show
Ming was cremated and buried at The Hartsdale Pet Cemetery (file image) in upstate New York
It was Aaron who found Yates after Ming’s attack, saying he saw him ‘on the floor, shaking, like he was going into shock’.
He rushed him to hospital – but they were both too terrified to admit what had happened. ‘We said he was bitten by a dog,’ Aaron admitted.
Aside from doctors not believing their story and reporting the bite marks to police, a neighbor also tipped off the police, who initially knocked a hole through the wall to see what they were dealing with.
NYPD lieutenant Eugene McCarthy recalled: ‘We saw a bed that was totally flipped upside down and it was shredded through, as an animal would shred through paper.
‘And then we saw there were claw marks all the way up to the top of the ceiling.
‘That threw us for a shock – we knew this was going to be a lot bigger than we first thought.’
Ming grew to be a 500-pound adult tiger
Not seeing the tiger in that room, the officers then used a periscope camera from outside the window.
‘I looked into the camera and the tiger was sitting down,’ Lt McCarthy remembered.
‘I was like, “Woah, that’s pretty big!” I was pretty overwhelmed. But I had to keep my poker face up.’
Detective Duffy was then lowered down down the building to look in, and admits: ‘I’m not gonna lie – you have to be pretty nervous. This is a 500-pound tiger at the top of the animal chain. You just have to suck it up and be a man.
‘I was pretty comfortable until I heard him roar – incredibly, incredibly loud.
‘When I saw him he was laying down, real peaceful. Then he looked at me, ready to make a move.
‘I took a shot and I hit him in the hind – and that’s when he went berserk. Initially he charged away and when he hit the interior wall I could feel the outside wall of the building shaking, that’s how powerful he was.
‘Then he turned around and just charged at the window. All I saw was his giant head with a mouthful of giant teeth coming at me.’
Eventually, the sedatives took hold and Ming was carried from the building byanimal welfare officers.
Detective Duffy admitted he felt compelled toreach out and touch the tiger as he was removed from the tower block.
‘He was magnificent – this beautiful fur, an amazing creature.”
Yates spent six months in jail for endangerment while his beloved Ming was taken to the animal sanctuary in Ohio.
‘Ironically we were both placed in cages for the first time,’ Yates said at the time.
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