‘Incredible’ journey to help rehome tiger

David Barnes moved Phevos the tiger to a new home in San Diego EMN-141223-110728001
David Barnes moved Phevos the tiger to a new home in San Diego EMN-141223-110728001
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A tiger has been rehomed after generous donors helped raise funds to transport him to a sanctuary in the US.

Phevos, a 260kg part Bengal and Siberian tiger, made an ‘incredible’ 7,000 mile journey from Greece to San Diego two weeks ago, after being rescued by Uppingham Sports and Books shop manager, David Barnes.

David, 62, from Peterborough, has spent the last year arranging to rescue Phevos from a zoo in Trikala, Greece.

Phevos and his mate Athena were originally rescued from a circus and sent to the zoo in Greece where David has been monitoring them.

The zoo was struggling to look after the exotic animals due to the recession and in March, tiger Athena died from complications brought on by a badly infected paw.

Since then, David has been raising a total of £11,500 for the flights and transfer, to take the 15-year-old tiger from the zoo in Trikala to his new home in California.

Thevos was transferred on December 10, from Trikala to Athens in a large crate and remained conscious during the entire journey.

Once in Athens, Phevos was loaded onto a Boeing 767 for the first leg of the flight to London Heathrow.

After spending the night in quarantine at Heathrow, Phevos continued his journey on December 11, to San Diego.

Phevos who is now in his new home is ‘visibly happier’ in his new enclosure at the Lions, Tigers and Bears Sanctuary in Alpine and is on his way to starting a new life.

At the sanctuary. Phevos has his own heated den and swimming pool, and has been placed next to a 16-year-old female who David hopes will be company for the new arrival.

David said: “I’m over the moon that he’s there, in a nice place with nice people.

“It’s been emotional, we’ve had a long standing relationship for over 13 years now.”

David who has rehomed dozens of exotic animals in the past 20 years, now has his sights set on rescuing other animals at the zoo.