Phevos' rescue was Lions Tigers & Bears' first ever international rescue.
Phevos the tiger was a part of an Italian traveling circus act when he was seized by Greek authorities along with his sister, Athena, for lack of proper paperwork back in 2002. Phevos and Athena were transferred to the Trikala Zoo in Trikala, Greece- where they were kept in unsatisfactory conditions, for years.
In early 2014, Bobbi was contacted by a UK citizen, named David Barnes, who had initially helped place Phevos and Athena at the Trikala Zoo. David tried for years to find a more suitable home for the tiger pair. A home that would be able to provide the specialized care the tigers required - including proper diet and routine veterinary care - two particulars that were severely lacking at the zoo. After the call, Lions Tigers & Bear began the process of applying for a US CITES permit - to rescue Phevos and Athena and bring them to the United States. The permit is necessary to import tigers, an endangered species, into the United States.
However in March 2014, Athena was anesthetized to undergo a biopsy and blood work, and ultimately passed away due to cardiac arrest. The tragic death of Athena was the result of medical neglect that stems back to an incident that occurred in December 2012, when Athena cut her paw on a broken Christmas ornament. She received no medical care for the wound until June 2013 which was 6 months later, when David Barnes-made a routine visit to the zoo to check on the tigers. David had noted signs of abuse on previous visits to the facility. Not surprisingly, Athena's paw was severely infected, and a veterinarian was called in for treatment. Her paw pad became progressively worse over time, and ultimately led to her death a year and a half later.
The fight to save Phevos continued on throughout the course of 2014. It took nearly 9 months to navigate the red-tape of the CITES import permit. Finally, on December 11, 2014 - Phevos arrived in San Diego, and to his new home at Lions Tigers & Bears. Phevos' rescue could not have been possible without the support of our members and donors, who together helped open up our sanctuary to provide Phevos with his forever home.