Zamba: The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived
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.
the studio I noticed a pickup truck and trailer parked near the entrance to the big soundstage. Actually, it wasn’t the pickup I noticed so much as the enormous African lion pacing in a large portable cage nearby, jaws dripping with saliva. A man dressed in a pair of well-worn jeans, a striped Western shirt, cowboy boots, and a broad-brimmed hat stood near the cage. The telltale string coming out of his shirt pocket meant he was carrying a small bag of “Bullderm” chewing tobacco. I introduced
administer. “It will numb the area a bit, and cut down on the pain. The tooth is impacted, with pus coming from the decayed root at the base.” He held up a small instrument, made from a strong fiber, flexible and tough. It was just a little thicker than a horse’s hair, and had a tiny scoop at the end of it. “Look at the tip of the fang. You see that small hole, right at the end? You have to take this pick and slowly, carefully, work it all the way down into the tooth to the root. As you go,
was in its full glory. A black Cadillac came to a halt at the end of our driveway, and out stepped a beautiful girl with such confidence and self-assurance that I could hardly believe she was indeed blind. About five-six, and slender, she had a thick head of long blond hair that hung down to the small of her back. I was surprised to see that she wore no glasses; most sightless people do. It would have been a shame; her deep gray eyes were clear and bright, and her gaze was steady and calm. A man
spot—Junior on top of the cave, Tammy in front, and Zamba on a broad rock just near the cave’s entrance, and in a minute, they were all asleep again. I don’t think there’s anything quite as beautiful as Africa the day after a storm. It seemed as if the rain had washed every microscopic bit of dirt out of the atmosphere. The slag that had covered the landscape was gone. It was a time of rebirth—everything dirty, decayed, used, soiled, or damaged had been washed away, and a new, perfect world
particular who is supposed to be very powerful.” “Do you think the one you’re thinking of and the one the old woman talks about is the same?” “Maybe. I don’t even know if I could find him.” She hesitated. “If it is the same one, he wanders far into the interior of the NFD and is in great demand. The local people call him whenever they are concerned about whether or not something will happen. He’s also supposed to have the ability to heal.” “Sounds like he’s our man, all right,” I said. Pip