A DOG walker has come forward as the person who placed a cuddly tiger toy near a motorway, which sparked a major operation.
Kevin Blunden had been using a life-size cuddly white tiger, which he had found near some garages, as a toy for his pet dog.
After the canine lost interest, Mr Blunden left the toy in a field near Hedge End by the M27, which caused the alarm to be raised.
Mr Blunden said: ‘My dog was very curious at first.
‘Initially to find what sex it was.
‘Obviously she didn’t know the difference between a tiger and a dog.
‘I know the story went global.
‘I was shocked at the chaos it caused and couldn’t believe it.’
The fake tiger caused play to be stopped at the Rose Bowl and staff from Marwell Zoo attended in case the wild animal needed tranquillising.
Thermal imaging from a police helicopter found there was no heat coming from the animal before police realised the tiger was a toy.