We have all read some amazing stories about love amongst animals. We have even heard stories about loving relationships amongst animals of different species. But this story, about tigress Zabu and a lion, Cameron, is probably unlike anything you ever had a chance to read about. What makes this story special is their love towards each other and hardships that they went through together. Another interesting detail about these two amazing cats, is the fact that they were born and raised together, spending almost every waking moment with each other. Just like a real couple, they were supporting and comforting one another through the rough conditions and hard times they went through until they were rescued.
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The stars of this beautiful story are Zabu and Cameron. Zabu is a female white tigress. Since white tigers can’t be found in nature, they are all inbred. Zabu has genetic flaws just like every other white tiger. They can only be born when someone forcefully inbreeds tigers that are brother and sister or father and daughter repeatedly until a tiger with a white coat is born. This of course results in many genetic problems such as the one Zabu has. She has a lifted upper lip, which makes her teeth unprotected and exposed all the time. She is also cross eyed like every other white tiger, because the same gene that produces her white coat also causes her optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain. She was born like this in captivity, in a circus, a roadside zoo. She lived there with Cameron for 4 years until they were rescued.
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Cameron is a lion also born at the same roadside zoo as Zabu. They were held together every day since birth by the zoo owners. The reason they lived an isolated life is simple but cruel. Owners of the zoo were waiting for the tigress and a lion to become sexually mature. They were hoping that once they get the urge to mate, they will have to mate with each other since they are living in isolation. Cubs that are born by mating a tigress and a lion such as Zabu and Cameron are called ligers. Ligers can’t be found in nature because lions and tigers live on different territories, and even if their habitats overlapped, the probability of tiger and a lion mating would be zero to none.
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The owners of the zoo where Zabu and Cameron were living had one of two reasons why they would be looking to mate them and get ligers. First and the more obvious reason would be simply for the zoo and circus, using a liger as an attraction for viewers. Ligers are very unique when it comes to their looks, and at the same time are known to be the largest cat hybrids amongst all felines. You can see how easily they would profit from Ligers appearance. The second reason would be to sell them. According to law a private ownership of a tiger or a lion is strictly forbidden, but there is no law affecting cat hybrids such as ligers. Because of that loophole in the law, ligers are being sold for very high prices. Fortunately, people from the “Big Cat Rescue” saved Zabu and Cameron, taking them away from the zoo and keeping them in a much healthier environment.
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When people from “Big Cat Rescue” found Zabu and Cameron, they reacted immediately and took them away. When he was saved, Cameron was dangerously skinny for a lion. He was around 200 pounds underweight. People from the “Big Cat Rescue” decided to keep Zabu and Cameron together since they have became so close to each other. Another upside is that now they were living in a very large enclosure that is finally big enough for two huge playful cats. Cameron slowly gained his weight back and was more alive than ever. Once they were nurtured to health, and were playful happy and careless, the decision was made to spay Zabu. This had to be done in order to stop them from mating and producing more genetically flawed cats. But the fact that Zabu was sterile did not affect them, they continued to live happily together and enjoy their care free time at their large enclosure.
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As time went by Cameron was getting older and more and more aggressive. But he was never aggressive to Zabu. Instead he was becoming more and more possessive of her. He became overprotective and started to forbid anyone from coming in their enclosure. He was aggressive even when someone tried to get in and feed them or clean the enclosure. This behavior was clearly a result of testosterone going wild in Camerons body as he was getting older. Finally people from the “Big Cat Rescue” realized that this is gradually becoming a big issue and had to make a choice. The first option was to separate him from Zabu and take care of them separately. And their second option was to neuter Cameron which would decrease his testosterone level and settle down his behavior. The decision wasn’t easy because they didn’t want to separate them from each other, they thought it might not be healthy for them to start living separately, after all the time they spent together. And the problem with a second option was that lions lose their mane when they are neutered, and not a single person there wanted to see Cameron without his beautiful mane.
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After some time they finally decided to neuter him. Shortly after that Cameron started to gradually lose more and more of his glorious mane. To their surprise he didn’t seem to mind losing his mane. In fact he was happier than ever, he stopped being aggressive and was peacefully enjoying his care free time with Zabu in their dream home.
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