Kura is Auckland Zoo’s elderly lioness, and at 19 years old she is very much an old lady! Mother to the gorgeous Amira, and admired by guests and keepers alike, it is very important we keep a close eye on her condition in her old age.

Lions, much like other wild animals, will hide their pain and mild illnesses, which is a defense mechanism in the wild. This makes it extremely important for our keepers to have a strong bond with these animals so they can pick up on any subtle changes in behaviour which could indicate a health issue, and it’s also really important for our vet team to undertake procedures such as geriatric health checks.

“Being a lion, Kura is not a patient we can ask to sit on a table while we examine. So the examination, taking bloods, these are all things we would do with your pet cat in a local vet clinic. We do the same tests with Kura but she needs to be anaesthetised,” said Auckland Zoo Vet Dr. Chatterton.

Kura is due for her geriatric health check-up, and with blood recently found in her urine, veterinary specialists were invited along to ultrasound scan her abdomen during the procedure. It was a long process, but, Kura was described as a model patient.


Our lioness Kura is getting a health check!

“We’ve had her under anaethesia for 3.5 hours, that’s quite a long time for an old lady, but she’s been really stable,” Dr. Chatterton said.

Kura’s check-up indicated she is a healthy older lady, but for this majestic aging animal, vets and keepers alike will continue to keep a close eye on her to make sure she lives out her days happy and pain-free.