The Lake Superior Zoo sent out a Press release with sad news. Their female African lion Lily who would have turned 15 this September has passed away.  Director of Animal Care, Lizzy Larson said, “I had the privilege of being one of Lily’s keepers since she was 2 years old. I got to watch her grow up. I will miss her “talking” to me every day. Our zoo, and my life, will not be the same without her.”

This is so important for people to understand just how much each and every one of these animals mean to the staff, caretakers, and volunteers. I have seen firsthand not only the ultimate respect they have for every one of the animals but much love as well. These animals are better cared for than some people's pets in their homes, and it would be impossible not to become attached to them.

Last week Lily was displaying some signs that she was not feeling well and through the week she became worse. She was very lethargic and had little appetite. The zookeepers and veterinary staff sedated her and did a full examination. Initially, they found what seemed to be a possible mass and fluid around her heart and chest, which is nontreatable. Given Lily's age and how quickly she became so ill the very difficult decision was made to euthanize her.

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Lily's brother Leo recently passed away and now the only remaining sibling of the three lions is a female named Malkia. In the wild, the average lion lives to be about 10 and in captivity, they usually live into their teens. The zoo staff will continue to give Malkia the highest level of care and let her live out her days at the zoo. She will not be introduced to any new lions because it would be too stressful and dangerous for her. All three siblings had full physical and dental exams last year and were reported to be in good health considering their age.

Primary Carnivore Keeper, Hannah Remington said in the Press Release:

Lily was a beautiful lady with lots of spunk and personality. She loved her siblings and keepers dearly. She would always have a thorough “good morning” chat with me, and I will greatly miss that. She was a fast learner when it came to behavioral husbandry training and was a very motivated participant which keeper staff always appreciated. I will miss her beautiful eyes, her bold personality, and her loving spirit very much.


The Zoo is asking people to share stories of your own images of Lily in the comments on their Facebook page or with the hashtag #LilytheLioness.

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