Cameron the Lion
10/1/00 – 2/19/19
Cameron the 18 year old lion was euthanized on 2/19/19. His necropsy seems to indicate liver cancer and samples have been sent out for testing. Zabu Tiger slept in her hammock through the entire ordeal, but we will be giving her extra attention over the coming days to make sure she adjusts to the transition.
When Cameron arrived in 2004 he was skin and bones and for the past 15 years his keepers have coaxed and tempted him, at just about every meal, to eat. In recent years they would come out 2-4 times a day, and offer every kind of food they could think of, to see what he might prefer that day. In recent months his medications were changed several times to try and find that magic balance that would keep him eating and feeling good, but the time had come when there was nothing left to try.
We will miss his roars across Tiger Lake and his joyful antics with his toys. We will miss seeing the love he and Zabu expressed for each other in daily baths and spooning naps. If ever there was a cat who should inspire us to end the practice of breeding wild cats for life in cages, it was Cameron.
Cameron the lion and Zabu the white tiger are Big Cat Rescue’s odd couple. They were both born at a run down roadside zoo in 2000 and were rescued in 2004.
At the New Hampshire zoo, Cameron had been raised with Zabu, the white tigress, with the hopes of cross breeding them and selling the resulting liger cubs.
People often hybridize lions and tigers because they are either trying to create a novelty that people will pay to come see or trying to avoid the law. Until recently, some state’s laws did not recognize a 500-pound cross between a lion and tiger to be either. Therefore, people would buy them and claim that laws against owning a lion or tiger did not apply to them. We were told that prior to Cameron’s rescue he had lost over 200 lbs. It was up to us to help turn his life around.
Since Cameron and Zabu were true companions, we had to do whatever we could to make a long life together possible for them. The first step was to build a very large enclosure fit for the two energetic big cats.
Next we spayed Zabu so they would not breed and produce any more cats for life in cages.
Over the years Cameron became more and more possessive of Zabu and would not allow keepers near the enclosure to clean or feed. Because Cameron’s behaviors were testosterone driven we had only two choices; separate him from Zabu forever or neuter him. The decision was easy, Cameron was neutered.
Several months later he lost his mane as a result. It does not seem to bother him though. Cameron’s mood has mellowed dramatically and he seems much more comfortable in the hot Florida summers without the extra 15 pounds of fur around his neck. He has even become much more playful since he no longer worries about everything that is going on around his enclosure. His favorite toy is a big yellow ring which he bats and pushes around his enclosure in the early morning and late afternoon. While it was sad to see Cameron lose his mane, it was completely worth it so that he could continue to live with his best friend Zabu.
While Cameron tries to sleep most of the day away (as lions do in the wild), Zabu is extremely energetic and is always pestering him to play. She’ll often give up on him and just run and jump and play with her big red Planet Ball. Of course, that’s after she’s tired of playfully stalking her keepers or trying to spray the groups of visitors that stop by everyday.
Here are some more pages you can find information, photos, videos, and stories about Cameron:
Spring 2014: “What’s Up With Cameron’s Mane?” Why is Cameron losing his gorgeous mane? https://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2014-04/
See Chris & Gale setting up Piñatas for Cameron and Nikita the lions and Zabu the white tiger in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 – https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-april-25-2014/
See photos of Cameron and Zabu heading to their cool den on a hot day, kissing behind their big red ball, and playing with toys by their pond. https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-may-31/
See the video: Lion + White Tiger = Cameron and Zabu! https://bigcatrescue.org/lion-white-tiger-cameron-zabu/
The rest of the world has “Brangelina” Big Cat Rescue has “CAMBU” !! Cameron the male African Lion and Zabu the female white tiger love each other very much and love “playtime” where they can be very goofy big cats! https://bigcatrescue.org/lion-and-tiger-playtime-at-big-cat-rescue/
Read about working with big cats. https://bigcatrescue.org/work-with-big-cats/
Enrichment is a very important part of the cats’ day. See Cameron and Zabu attacking a giraffe for Enrichment. https://bigcatrescue.org/lion-tiger-vs-giraffe/
Here are more Enrichment videos. We would like to invite you to share these videos with your friends and family. https://bigcatrescue.org/tag/enrichment/page/7/
Hearing a lion’s call is one of the most powerful sounds of nature; “Cameron” belts one out in this short clip. https://bigcatrescue.org/roar-a-roar-from-bcrs-male-lion-is-a-powerful-sound/
See a video entitled “If A Lion and Tiger Got Into a Fight, Who Would Win?” https://bigcatrescue.org/if-a-lion-and-tiger-got-into-a-fight-who-would-win/
On this link you will find a video of some of the cats. You will also see volunteers hauling dirt and Cameron and Zabu enjoying their vacation at Big Cat Rescue. https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-jan-30-2014/
Zabu the white tiger takes Cameron’s pumpkin and puts in the water. https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-oct-17/
See the video, “Lion and Tiger, Backyard Blitz”. https://bigcatrescue.org/today-big-cat-rescue-nov-8-2013/
After being separated for quarantine and ‘getting fixed’ Cameron and Zabu are reunited. https://bigcatrescue.org/white-tiger-and-lion-november-4-2004-update-2/ and https://bigcatrescue.org/white-tiger-and-lion/
Join is on Facebook to see new photos of the cats every day. https://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue
Sponsor Cameron https://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat
Medical Update June 13, 2018
Cameron Lion was born 10/1/2000 and rescued on 5/3/04. He was neutered in 2014 and lost his mane, but that may have saved his life because we discovered and removed a tumor that would not have been visible in that thick fur. He’s been on the fussy cat list for as long as I can remember; meaning that keepers beg him throughout the day to eat. For the past week his appetite and zest for life has been steadily declining. Tonight we will sedate him, draw blood and make a decision. If his kidney values aren’t much worse than the last time, we will give him a big shot of Depo-Medrol, to see if that helps him any, but if his kidney values are worse, it may be time to let him go.