Niabi Zoo Announces Death of Savanna, 19-year-old Beloved African Lion
The Niabi Zoo on Thursday announced the death of Savanna, the last remaining African Lion at the zoo. Savanna was 19 years old.
According to a Facebook post by the zoo, she was humanely euthanized due to complications from both breast cancer and progressive kidney failure.
According to the post, Savanna was born on May 3, 2002 and was brought to Niabi Zoo when she was just 5 days old and would be hand-reared by her keeper. Jessi, Savanna's primary keeper, described Savanna as "a lifelong leader in her pride".
The post says many animals in zoos live well past what some of their wild counterparts do, as veterinary care and animal care science progress. It also says that the older animals in zoos can develop many of the same problems as elderly humans can, which include a weakened immune system, eye and joint issues, dental problems, and digestive problems.
The zoo says that all of the zoo's animals, the older animals especially, are monitored on a daily basis for things like body condition and appetite, mobility, demeanor, and interactions. Details on the animals' conditions are recorded.
Savanna was a favorite for zoo-goers and she enjoyed interactions with her keepers at the zoo. She also liked to play with her enrichment devices.
Director Lee Jackson says it's a testament to the level of care and dedication from the keepers and the veterinary staff.
The zoo says she will always be in their hearts and a part of the zoo's history.