Who pinched the tiger pelt from the Bengal Lounge? The popular cocktail bar received its name from the full-size animal skin that proudly hung over the hearth until it mysteriously disappeared a few days ago, according to Vancouver Island’s CTV News.
The historic Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, British Columbia has been a fixture of the city since 1908, adding the Indian-themed Bengal Lounge in the late ’60s. The bar was a popular spot among locals who were charmed by the atmosphere, which is normally dominated by the tiger pelt. The wall hanging is a single complete skin with the full head still attached, which also features a menacing growl.
As renovations to the lounge have been underway, the culprit (or culprits) have had an easier opportunity to slip and remove the rug, although there are, as of yet, no suspects. It’s unclear what someone would want with the distinctive pelt, and many people are hoping that this recent disappearance is simply a repeat of a prank that was pulled in 1980, when the pelt was temporarily stolen, only to be anonymously dropped back off in a box behind the hotel. As reported in the Times Colonist, the only clue then to the original culprits’ identities was a note included with the pelt, which was later returned. It said, “Please return to the Bengal Room at the Empress Hotel. It was borrowed. Thank you.” It was signed, “Fred and Barney.”
Whether Fred and Barney are responsible for the latest theft is unclear. This year’s investigation, which the Fairmont’s manager has dubbed “Operation Tiger,” is ongoing.