Death of Whipsnade Zoo lions leaves habitat “empty for the first time in decades”

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The African lion habitat at Whipsnade Zoo is empty “for the first time in decades” after the deaths of three of the beloved big cats.

Bedfordshire Zoo’s two African lions, Kia and Max, were sadly euthanized recently after succumbing to several conditions that affected their quality of life.

The elderly lions, who were 16, were siblings and had lived at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo since their birth in 2006 with their brother Neo, who died in November last year.

READ MORE: The latest from the Whipsnade Zoo

The three lions were born to mum Saturn and dad Spike, who both came to Whipsnade, near Dunstable in 2005 from the West Midlands Safari Park.

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Kia, Max and Neo have been favorites of staff and visitors for many years.

Since Neo’s death in November, caretakers and vets have monitored Kia and Max closely and quickly noticed that the geriatric lions were exhibiting similar symptoms. difficulty getting up and moving, as well as problems with coordination.

The zoo said that after treatment and care from vets, the lions’ pain began to reach such a point that it could no longer be managed with medication. Therefore, the veterinarian and guardian teams decided it was time to put the lions to sleep.

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A spokesperson for the Whipsnade Zoo said: “It is a very sad time for everyone who has known Kia and Max, and for the caretakers who have looked after them for so many years.

“It also means that for the first time in decades the lion habitat at Whipsnade Zoo is empty. African lions are an iconic species at the zoo, but also an important species in terms of our conservation goals.

“We are committed to caring for the lions at Whipsnade and ensuring that any future pride that we care for contributes as much as possible to the conservation and protection of their species. For this reason, there will be a period in which the Whipsnade lion habitat will remain empty, while we find and prepare the right breeding group. “

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