Today Auckland Zoo said a tough goodbye to its much-loved elderly lions Kura and her daughter Amira, who had to be euthanased this morning – a decision staff say was incredibly difficult, but the best call for their welfare.
Both Kura (19.5) and Amira (17), were great advocates for their vulnerable wild cousins and lived long and full lives, with the life expectancy of female lions in the wild being up to 15, if fortunate, and 17 in zoos.
Over the past few months our carnivore keepers and vets had been closely monitoring Kura’s health, as despite an increased diet she was having trouble maintaining her weight. While matriarch of the pride her entire life, she also tellingly began displaying behaviours that indicated she was feeling extremely vulnerable, including for the first time, acting submissively towards her daughter Amira.
Senior Vet Manager Dr James Chatterton says that it was becoming evident Kura’s quality of life was beginning to deteriorate. “Her decline was irreversible and would only worsen in the days ahead, making euthanasia the kindest, most humane and only option.”