Cameron the lion loves his bright yellow donut toy, but he’s not exactly the most gentle when playing. After gouging a hole in his favorite toy, Cameron was in the market for a replacement — and his keepers knew just how to make him happy. In the video below, we see the overjoyed lion take his new donut for a spin.
You’ll notice Cameron shares his enclosure with an unexpected roommate — a white tigress named Zabu. According to Big Cat Rescue, both of these big cats were born in 2000 and raised together in a “run-down roadside zoo” in New Hampshire, presumably so they could be cross-bred. The practice of cross-breeding is often done to produce “ligers” who attract tourists or to circumvent laws restricting lion or tiger ownership since the resulting liger is technically neither. Big Cat Rescue reports that Cameron lost more than 200 pounds before being rescued.
Because of the strength of the bond they share, Cameron and Zabu could not be separated when they were rescued together in 2004. Rather, Big Cats Rescue built a custom enclosure to accommodate the odd couple and spayed Zabu to prevent any accidental ligers from being born in captivity.
Eventually, they had to neuter Cameron because of his possessive behavior toward Zabu. Big Cat Rescue states, “we had only two choices; separate him from Zabu forever or neuter him…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.”