Hundreds of police were mobilised after the theft of a truck, its trailer and its cargo - a Bengal tiger and two camels from a Canadian zoo.

The vehicles were stolen from the parking lot of a motel in Saint-Liboire, Quebec, said police spokesman Richard Gagne. He said the animals from the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario were being transported when the two employees stopped overnight at the motel.

When they woke up, the truck and its animals were gone. The zoo said it's offering a $28,300 reward for the recovery of the animals, the tiger Jonas, and camels Todd and Shawn.

Gagne said police in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick and also across the United States border were alerted. Zoo officials feared that the animals might suffer from dehydration in the 30C heat.