Brookfield Zoo loses Zenda, pride of the lion’s den

Chicago Zoological Society Saddened to Announce Loss of Male African Lion

            Brookfield, Ill. – The New Year begins on a very sad note at Brookfield Zoo, as the Chicago Zoological Society announces the loss of Zenda, its male African lion, who would’ve turned 14 this July.

Just before Christmas, animal care staff observed Zenda having difficulty standing and walking. Over the past week, veterinarians had been treating his symptoms with medication to help ease the pain. However, yesterday, January 2, his well-being declined dramatically and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize him. Preliminary necropsy results revealed Zenda had several degenerative discs in his spine that had ruptured as a result of his advanced age and were inoperable.

            Zenda, who was considered geriatric, arrived at Brookfield Zoo in May 2008. In his later years, he began losing his impressive mane, but his majestic roar could often be heard from across the park. He was incredibly protective of his mate, Isis, who also arrived that same year. He could often be seen either grooming Isis or sleeping with a paw on her.

Over the years, animal care specialists developed a respectful relationship with Zenda. He even cooperated in his own health care by participating in voluntary blood draws taken from his tail and presenting a paw for vaccine injections.

Staff will be monitoring and working closely with Isis, who will turn 15 this year, over the next several weeks to help her adjust to the loss of Zenda.

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