Bambek and Camba are two of four African lions who were rescued from a Bolivian circus by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and are now living at ARK 2000.Bambek, Camba, Daktari and Simba arrived at PAWS on May 28, 2010, after a long journey by plane and by truck. They became the "pride of San Andreas, California."
It has been a deeply moving experience watching these majestic animals experience life as lions: the freedom to explore the tall grass and trees in their spacious habitats; the three males lounging together in a pile of tangled yellow/brown manes; and the nightly chorus of roars as the sun sets. How different ARK 2000 must have seemed to them after living in small metal cages for most of their lives.
We have already mourned the loss of Daktari, who died of cancer in 2012, and Simba who also passed away from cancer in July of 2014. Captivity is not kind to wild animals, and the constant stressors of circus life no doubt had an effect on all of these lions' health and well-being. It is heartbreaking to lose these once-vibrant animals to a devastating disease such as cancer, but we are comforted by the knowledge that they had the chance to experience refuge, peace, security, and dedicated care at PAWS.
We will never forget Daktari or Simba, and will honor their lives in our continuing efforts to eliminate the abuse of animals in circuses.
The cost of care for the Bolivian lions has been assumed by ADI. This generous gesture is unprecedented in the history of PAWS, and is greatly appreciated. After rescue, the costs of care are usually left for PAWS to fund. Thank you ADI for your commitment to these lions.
Denny, Pheiffer and Max, African lion cubs all born in early to mid 1997, arrived at PAWS in December of 1997. Purchased by individuals from pet stores as babies, all were victims of the exotic animal trade. Each had been declawed and defanged, and each suffered from malformed joints and had permanent damage to all four paws as a result of the way they were declawed.
Denny was confiscated by the Detroit Police Department's Harbormaster Division on Belle Isle when they discovered his owner jogging with him in the park. He was sent to the Detroit Zoological Park on September 14, 1997.
Pheiffer and Max were rescued by the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society and also taken to the Detroit Zoological Park on September 24, 1997. Detroit Zoo sent the three cubs to PAWS in December of that year.
Max, the most fragile of the three, died nearly 11 years ago. Pfeiffer died from cancer on August 27, 2014. She was 17 years old. Denny continued to live at our Galt, California, sanctuary until his death on Oct. 19, 2014, also from cancer.
Sheba was born at a breeding facility in 1993, where she and her brother were sold as pets to a man who kept them in his house in Detroit. When the male lion became too difficult for his owner to handle, he was euthanized. Sheba eventually became more difficult to handle and her owner decided to surrendered her to the Michigan Humane Society. The Humane Society contacted us and we agreed to take her.
Sheba lived at our Galt sanctuary for 15 years before being moved to her new habitat at ARK 2000 where she became next-door-neighbor to Camba and the other rescued Bolivian circus lions (above).
Sheba's first steps into her spacious new habitat at ARK 2000 was an emotional experience for PAWS' directors Pat Derby and Ed Stewart. They had long dreamed of a large habitat and companions for this gentle, sweet lion.
Sheba's mobility gradually decreased over her last two years, but she still enjoyed exploring her grassy habitat. Her favorite spot was resting under a large oak tree where she could look out over the other lion habitats, and where she could watch birds, squirrels, and turkeys pass by. Ed built a dirt pathway and ramp which made it easier for her to walk up and down the hill from her den to her tree. She received a variety of arthritis medications daily, hidden in pieces of her favorite meat.
In late April 2015, Sheba's condition began to decline. Her appetite began to wane, and she was having greater difficulty walking. Medications were adjusted, but ultimately nothing could stop the progression of her symptoms. On May 4, the difficult but compassionate decision was made to euthanize her. Sheba passed from this life surrounded by those who loved her, at age of 23 - a long life for a lion.
A necropsy performed by veterinary pathologists at U.C. Davis revealed that in addition to arthritis, Sheba also had cancer in her kidney, adrenal gland, and lungs.
This magnificent lioness will be truly missed by all who were fortunate enough to meet and care for her.
*PLEASE NOTE:Adoptions are in name only. The animal does not actually go home with you. Donations made via animal adoption are used for the care, feeding and maintenance of the animals.
Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
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