Neil was around 45 pounds and five months old when he was featured in a YouTube video filmed in the neighborhood of Studio City in Los Angeles.
He wasn't exactly in his natural habitat: Neil is a Bengal tiger.
After the video went viral, Neil was confiscated and taken to Moorpark College Teaching Zoo for recovery. Mara Rodriguez with the Zoo says that buying an apex predator is, unsurprisingly, a bad idea.
“There’s no forethought to what these animals are designed to do, which is hunt and kill, and what this animal’s needs are,” Rodriguez says.
Two years later, Neil is 400 pounds of muscle, and nicely recovered from the cramped experience of city living.
He’s even made friends with Karma, another tiger at the zoo, and Rodriguez says that Neil has become a great attraction.
“I encourage people to come visit Karma and Neil," Rodriguez says, "and see them in action, and watch them play together.”