Rescued tiger Phevos settles into his new home - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rescued tiger Phevos settles into his new home

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - He was rescued from deplorable conditions at a Greek zoo. Now a tiger is settling into his new home at an animal sanctuary in Alpine.

It's a brand new life for the gorgeous 573-pound tiger. Phevos had sadly been neglected and underfed at a small, underfunded zoo in Greece after travelling for years with an Italian circus.

"I believe over there, they just don't have the money or resources to take care of the animals," Bobbi Brink, director of Lions, Tigers and Bears said.

Packed up in a massive crate with 180 air holes, the 19-year-old feline journeyed 7,000 miles over 45 hours, finally arriving Thursday in San Diego.

"Instead of starving and not having anyone to pay attention to him, now he's going to have love and care, kind of like going to a senior home," Brink said.

That loving home is the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine, which has been working for the past year to arrange their first international animal rescue. Brink says the frustrating bureaucracy involved was as complicated as the challenge of shipping this enormous creature from Europe and hauling him from Lindbergh field to his new digs in the East County.

"It is an amazing amount of paperwork when you're just trying to save an animal, just trying to save an animal," she said.

On Friday, Phevos -- which means "sun god" -- was contentedly sleeping off his jetlag, clearly exhausted after his epic journey. Brink says his mellow demeanor will mesh well with living in Southern California.

"He's very kickback, very laid back. A very gentle cat," Brink said.

Along with plenty of rest will come plenty of nourishment.

"He's a big boy, but he is skinny. We are going to put some weight on him, another 50 to 100 pounds on him," Brink said.

Lions, Tigers and Bears is asking for donations to provide lifetime care for Phevos, which runs at least $10,000 a year.

For more on how you can help, CLICK HERE >>.

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