Zenda, Philadelphia Zoo's 25-year-old African lion, dies

Philadelphia, PA—(December 30, 2016) — Philadelphia Zoo announced today that Zenda, a 25-year-old female African lion, was euthanized on Thursday, December 29th  due to an acute decline in her  mobility and behavior. At 25, Zenda was the oldest African lion in the United States zoo population by several years, and significantly exceeded the 17-year typical life expectancy for lions in zoos.
Zenda was born at the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa in July 1991 and arrived in Philadelphia in July 1993 along with additional female lions Jezebel and Vinkel and male lion Merlin The pride relocated temporarily to the Columbus Zoo in 2004, and then returned for the opening of the new Big Cat Falls exhibit in 2006. During her many years in Philadelphia, Zenda was one of the Zoo’s most loved and most popular animals.
“This remarkable cat will be missed by staff and guests alike, particularly by the keepers who catered to her changing needs as she grew old,” said Dr. Andy Baker, Chief Operating Officer at Philadelphia Zoo. He also noted Zenda’s role in the Zoo’s recent innovations.  “Despite their already advancing age, Zenda and her pridemates were eager explorers of the habitat time-share system allowed by the design of Big Cat Falls when we opened it in 2006. Their engagement was one of the inspirations for our pioneering Zoo-wide trail system concept,” said Baker. “Zoo360 – a new way for animals to experience a zoo – is part of Zenda’s legacy.
Philadelphia Zoo is home to six other African lions who live at Key Bank Big Cat Falls: Makini, a seven- year old male, six-year-old female Tajiri and their four female offspring Kataba, Mali, Msinga and Sabi, all born in June 2014.

America's first zoo and one of the region's foremost conservation organizations, Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.25 million visitors last year. Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on Philadelphia Zoo, as well as to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at Facebook: PhiladelphiaZoo; Instagram: @philadelphiazoo; Twitter: @phillyzoo. Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.