An African Lion named Samson that has lived at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona since 2001 died Wednesday.
The lion was rescued from the exotic pet trade, an unlicensed owner, as a three-month-old. He had some physical deformities, likely due to improper breeding, but was said to enjoy "rolling on pine trees, roaring into a barrel to hear his own echo, and peacefully supervising his domain from atop a platform."
“This brave lion overcame many obstacles and received extra special care from the staff and volunteers to ensure he was enjoying life to the fullest," said Ali Crumpacker, director of the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center.
"In recent weeks, Samson’s health declined and with his long time caregivers at his side, he slid into a peaceful place where we can only hope he is finally able to run free across the savannah of the sky.”
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center houses 53 sanctuary animals, and is primarily focused on assisting native wildlife in need of rescue and rehabilitation. The sanctuary is operated by The Fund for Animals, an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States.