Zamba: The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived
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One day, Ralph Helfer, a celebrated animal behaviorist, received a surprising phone call. His close friends had found a young lion near death by the Zambezi River in Zambia and had rescued him and brought him back to the States. Ralph had often spoken of wanting to raise a lion from a young age -- he had been developing a philosophy of training animals based on love instead of fear, which he termed "affection training." Weeks later, Zamba, then a two-month-old cub, arrived. As Helfer peeked into Zamba's box, he saw a small lion cub tilt his head, wait a single beat, then amble right into his arms. Hugging Helfer's neck with his soft paws, Zamba collapsed on his chest, got comfortable, and fell asleep, their faces touching. They didn't move for the next two hours. Zamba was home.
For the next eighteen years, Zamba would appear in many motion pictures, on television, and in the pages of magazines. Along with Helfer's other famous animal actors -- including Modoc the circus elephant and Gentle Ben the bear -- Zamba proved Helfer's theories resoundingly correct, and affection training revolutionized the way animals are trained and treated in the motion picture industry. Through both happy and tough times the bond between Helfer and Zamba developed into the most important of their lives, and Zamba is now enshrined in Helfer's heart and the memories of moviegoers everywhere as the greatest lion that ever lived. With stories that range from the hilarious to the incredibly sad and poignant, Zamba will give any Lion King fan a new hero and touch every animal lover's heart.
in the same direction without knocking into one another, because they are listening to a universal ‘mind.’ “Animals do this naturally, in emergency and in tranquillity. I think we’re so close to our animals right now, and our love for them is so strong that we’ve crossed over, to their dominion. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in the world could feel like this, just once in their lives?” It was a long speech for me, and it was followed by a long, heavy silence. Everyone was deep in thought,
their cages (he wasn’t about to take them out), he released them to us. They were loaded, still in their cages, onto a cart and wheeled into the parking lot where hundreds of people had gathered. A huge uproar greeted us as we made our way through the crowd toward the two vehicles waiting for us. The bigger of the two vehicles had two large built-in cages in the back. We put leads on Zamba Jr. and Tammy and walked them over to the truck. We jumped them up on the trucks and into their new
reminded us all why they were at the ranch. “The ranger told us that what happened to us on the Zambezi River had never happened before,” she said. “He said the cub was at the point of collapse when Brini came upon him. He wouldn’t have lasted another hour,” added Jack. “I’m surprised he let you take the cub out of the country,” I said. Even then, there were stringent laws preventing people from taking any animals out of Africa. “I think he knew that if the cub had any chance at all of
every one. They had come from everywhere. Some were employees, some friends, and some strangers, but everyone greeted us as we came down the hill with expressions of hope and love on their faces. They cared, and it showed. The animals were out of crisis, but they couldn’t stay in the state they were in. The work was only just beginning, as one by one, we fed, cleaned, and housed them as best we could. “Ralph, come quickly!” screamed a voice. “He made it, he made it! He’s alive!” “Who, who?” I
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