4 min read

Lion And Tiger Born To Be Bred Escape Zoo — Together

<p>Big Cat Rescue</p>

Cameron, a lion, and Zabu, his tigress, can't help but stand out a little.

After all, Cameron is a male lion who lost his mane, and Zabu is a white tiger. They're Big Cat Rescue's resident odd couple and their love story is one for the ages.

Big Cat Rescue

Today, they live together in a large enclosure made just for them at the Florida-based rescue, but that wasn't always the case.

Big Cat Rescue

Cameron and Zabu were born at a roadside zoo in New England in 2000, fated for only one purpose - to one day breed in the hopes of producing ligers, according to the rescue. In 2004, the pair was rescued from the zoo.

Cameron was 200 pounds underweight for a lion his size and age.

Big Cat Rescue

Zabu, a Siberian-Bengal hybrid, had a genetic flaw due to breeding - she had a shortened upper lip, which left her teeth exposed and vulnerable.

Big Cat Rescue

In the hands of the rescue, however, the two animals were finally safe from any further mistreatment or exploitation.

More importantly, the rescue saw how bonded the couple was and knew they had to be kept together.

Big Cat Rescue

"When Zabu and Cameron were rescued, we constructed a large natural enclosure for the two of them to share since they are truly bonded as a couple," the rescue writes. Cameron got a vasectomy. However, when Zabu started going into heat, Cameron became especially possessive of her and aggressive toward caretakers at the rescue. Zabu was subsequently spayed, which seemed to work for a few years before Cameron once again started to display possessive and aggressive behavior.

"Because Cameron's behaviors were testosterone-driven we had only two choices; separate him from Zabu forever or neuter him," the rescue writes. "The decision was easy."

Big Cat Rescue

After Cameron was neutered, he lost his glorious mane, but it was a small price to pay to keep him happy and close to his (very demanding) wife.

"While Cameron tries to sleep most of the day away (as lions do in the wild), Zabu is extremely energetic and is always pestering him to play," the rescue writes.

Big Cat Rescue

But it seems Cameron is capable of keeping his favorite tigress and best friend just as content by showering her with licks, cuddles or affectionate nuzzles. Even after all this time, their relationship has remained strong.

Big Cat Rescue

Watch this video about Lambert, a lion who's been obsessed with blankets since he was a baby: