The patient, Bambek, was rescued from Bolivia and now lives at the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s (PAWS) ARK 2000 sanctuary. Many thanks to Kim G. from PAWS for putting the following story on Bambek together for us. It was our honor to work with PAWS, and we wish Bambek and Camba all the best!
On May 28, 2010, four circus lions, rescued from Bolivia when their government voted to ban the use of exotic animals in traveling shows, Camba, Daktari, Simba and Bambek, arrived at the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s (PAWS) ARK 2000 sanctuary after a very long journey by plane and truck.
Bambek peered quietly out of his crate as the PAWS team checked in on him. Soon, he was positioned next to the doors of his new home at ARK 2000 sanctuary.
He began to roar, calling to the other lions for reassurance. The PAWS team scattered straw about the enclosure and shifted the crates up to den doors so Bambek and the others, who clearly did not like being separated, could be together.
As the sun began to rise, Bambek was released into his separate den area while the crates were removed from the area, and finally, the gates were opened and the three males were reunited.
Camba, the female lioness who has been kept separated until all the animals can be neutered, hugged the common fence, pushing her body into Bambek.
Suddenly, all three males began rolling around in the fragrant alfalfa hay, and then raced around the big enclosure sniffing the pine trees, urinating profusely, and somersaulting over the branches to jump on an unsuspecting companion. Camba chased Bambek and the others up and down the fence line, wearing pine branches and hay on her head.
Sadly, we realized how spacious that den area was compared to the metal boxes that had been their home for most of their lives.
The three males fell asleep on top of each other against the fence next to Camba until PAWS keepers released the lions into the huge sunny hillside habitat with trees, logs and lots of vegetation.
The PAWS tigers, in the adjacent habitat, were stalking their new “neighbors” and roaring over the hillsides.
Bambek and the other lions roared back, and long conversations developed between the two species, almost a big cat welcome wagon.
Bambek and the lions from Bolivia were home and had become the Pride of PAWS.
Bambek chose to sleep out in the habitat that first night, gazing up at the stars, likely for the very first time in his life.
Why did Bambek need a vasectomy?
When the lions arrived from Bolivia, they were reproductively intact. Bambek was very close to his male companions, Daktari and Simba. During the day, they would lie close together in their grassy habitat and at night, they would sleep together in a big pile in a den. After both Daktari and Simba tragically died with cancer, Bambek was left alone in his habitat, which shared a common fence line with his neighbor, Camba the lioness. Bambek began to show an interest in Camba, and the two lions romp along the fence together, and even sleep next to each other, touching through the fence.
In hopes of introducing Bambek to Camba, and to prevent any possibility of pregnancy, vasectomy surgery was performed on Bambek with the assistance of veterinary surgeons Dr. Margo Mehl and Dr. Phil Watt, with their assistant Melissa. (If you neuter a male lion, he’ll lose his mane, which is why the vasectomy route was chosen.)
The surgery went well, and Bambek has fully recovered. We are looking forward to carefully introducing these two in hopes that they will provide companionship for each other.
About Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
PAWS was founded in 1984 and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of captive wildlife. PAWS operates three sanctuaries in Northern California and is home to elephants, tigers, lions, bears and others. Rescue. Protection. Sanctuary. Education. Advocacy. www.PAWSweb.org
Ways to support PAWS/donate > www.pawsweb.org/support_paws_home_page.html