CAMBA (Female African Lion)
May 2018 marked eight years since rescued African lioness Camba arrived at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. After a long journey that began in Bolivia, the plane carrying Camba and three other male lions touched down at the San Francisco International Airport where the four big cats were loaded onto a truck for the last leg of their trip.
Camba, Bambek, Daktari, and Simba were rescued from a Bolivian circus by Animal Defenders International, and had spent most of their lives being dragged from town to town in old, rusty cages that were so tiny the cats could barely turn around. Their only time spent out of their cages was during training or performances.
At 3 a.m. on May 28, 2010, the truck carrying Camba and the other lions arrived at ARK 2000. It was a very touching and emotional moment when these once abused lions stepped onto the soft soil and grass of their new home. For Camba, this may very well have been the first time she had ever felt grass under her feet. She cautiously sniffed at it, then took a few hesitant steps before beginning to relax and explore.
For several years, Camba enjoyed the company of the three male lions who were living next door. She would sometimes affectionately rub her side along their shared fence line, or play a mock game of chase with them.
Captivity is not kind to wild animals, and the constant stressors of circus life undoubtedly had an effect on the lions' health and well-being. We mourned the deaths of Daktari in 2012, Simba in 2014, and Bambek in 2015, all from cancer. It is heartbreaking to lose these once-vibrant animals to such a devastating disease, but we are comforted by the knowledge that they had the chance to experience refuge, peace, security, and dedicated care at PAWS.
With the passing of her male neighbors, Camba seemed to become less tolerant of the tigers housed nearby. Thanks to your donations, a new habitat and den area was constructed on a hilltop a short distance away. With Camba's new bird's eye view of the tigers, she feels safe and secure in her very own space — a large, grassy area with plenty of room to run or to bask in the sun. She can often be found napping on a log or in the shade of a mighty oak tree.
Although her exact age is not known, Camba is estimated to be around 13 years old. She is active and spry, and enjoys playing with logs and a large ball. Always observant and inquisitive, from her new habitat she can keep an eye on the wild turkeys as they walk past, as well as the animal care staff as they go about their daily activities.
PAWS is honored to provide a permanent, loving home for this deserving lion who has suffered so much hardship in the past, and we are grateful to you, our supporters, for making our work possible.
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We will never forget Bambek, Daktari or Simba, and will honor their lives in our continuing efforts to eliminate the abuse of all animals in circuses.