On September 22, 2015 Phevos the tiger peacefully passed away. Phevos’ health had been on a slow decline over the last two months of his life. He had progressively shown signs of pain and became increasingly withdrawn from his normal interests and activities. His appetite had steadily decreased, making our abilities to provide pain medication difficult, since medication was administered through his daily diet. Before his state deteriorated further, the decision was made with a heavy heart and much contemplation, to humanely euthanize our dear friend, Phevos.
Phevos was truly a tiger that defied all odds thrown his way. Born in captivity, and used in an Italian touring circus group, Phevos was seized with his mate Athena, and five other tigers, by Greek authorities in 2002. Phevos and Athena were sent to the Trikala Zoo, outside of Athens, Greece where they lived together until March 2014, when Athena passed away due to medical neglect. Athena had a gaping wound in her paw caused by a Christmas ornament, that went untreated for over a year. With the surge of the economic crisis in Greece, the conditions of the zoo deteriorated over time, making Phevos’ rescue an urgent matter, as he was not receiving necessary care.
David Barnes, a UK citizen who initially helped place the two tigers at the Trikala Zoo, and who first brought the plight of Phevos to our attention, helped to arrange the monumental rescue that would bring this suffering tiger to Lions Tigers & Bears.
Eight months after Athena’s death, Phevos was rescued from the Trikala Zoo and brought to Lions Tigers & Bears, where he would live out the remainder of his life.
Phevos’ rescue made international headlines, as he was “the tiger that travelled halfway across the world for a better life.” And a better life indeed is what Phevos received here at our sanctuary. Every effort was made to ensure his comfort and restore his health.
Phevos was a gentle giant, with a calm and reserved demeanor. He enjoyed sunning himself in the cool grass, lounging in the shallows of his pool and taking naps in his beds of hay. Phevos liked to spend time with Maverick, our two year old male tiger, as they would enjoy each other’s company through their habitat fences.
The loss of Phevos was heartbreaking to our keepers, staff and volunteers. Our team was honored to have been able to provide Phevos with loving care and attention for the last year of his life. We are deeply appreciative of all who helped play a role in providing a better life for Phevos by helping with his rescue and care.
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, LTB began the process of applying for a US CITES permit – to rescue Phevos and Athena and bring them to the United States.
However in March 2014, Athena was anesthetized to undergo a biopsy and blood work when she 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 and on December 11, 2014 – Phevos arrived in San Diego, and to his new home at Lions Tigers & Bears. Phevos’ rescue was the first international rescue for LTB. Thank you to our members and supporters we were able to open up our sanctuary to provide Phevos with his forever home.