An endangered Bengal tiger cub was discovered when controversial Youtube personality Logan Paul posted a viral video of the tiger playing with his dog at a Studio City home in 2017.
The video garnered 8.6 million views and drew criticism online.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office prosecuted the tiger's owner, Nicholas Perkins, 33, for mistreating the tiger and for providing him with poor living conditions.
The tiger, Neil, was put in the care of America's Teaching Zoo, a five-acre facility at Moorpark College, shortly after authorities seized the animal.
In January, Perkins was convicted on one count of unlawful possession of a restricted wild live animal and plead no contest. He was placed on 36 months probation and ordered to pay approximately $4,000 in fines to the city, a $2,000 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Preservation Fund and $52,000 in veterinary bills, according to the city attorney's office. Perkins was also required to attend 16 hours of animal cruelty classes and cooperate in any subsequent investigation of the breeder and seller of the tiger.
When Neil first arrived at the zoo in 2018, he was an "emotional and physical wreck," according to the zoo staff.
After receiving love and care at the facility, Neil is now a healthy, well-adjusted 400-pound creature who loves to play with his best friend Karma, a female tiger who came to the zoo shortly after he did, zoo staff said.
"Every time we spend time with him, it's like seeing the fruits of our labor in action," said zoo spokesperson Mara Rodriguez.
The two tigers help educate kids and adults about why wild animals do not make good pets, Rodriguez said.
As part of its Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, Moorpark College is committed to providing the tigers a healthy, long life and are currently raising funds for Rajah’s Retreat, a larger enclosure to be built for the pair, staff said.
The zoo, which houses about 130 different animals, is open to the public on weekends.