Brookfield Zoo's male African lion Zenda dies

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- The Brookfield Zoo said its male African lion Zenda has died at age 13.

The zoo announced the death Friday. Zenda would have turned 14 in July.

Zoo officials said just before Christmas they saw Zenda having difficulty with walking and standing. While veterinarians initially treated him with pain medication, zoo officials said in on Thursday his well-being declined dramatically. As a result, the zoo made the decision to euthanize him.

The zoo said a necropsy revealed the lion had several ruptured degenerative discs in his spine due to old age. The discs were inoperable. Zenda was considered a geriatric lion, who arrived at the zoo in May 2008.

"In his later years, he began losing his impressive mane, but his impressive roar could often be heard from across the park," zoo officials said in the statement announcing his death.

Zenda was mated to Isis, who also arrived at the zoo in 2008. She will turn 15 this year. The zoo said staff will monitor and work with her closely as she adjusts to the loss of Zenda.
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