LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Zookeepers at the Louisville Zoo had to make a tough decision this week.
The zoo’s only female lion, Kariba, was in declining health at 22-years-old.
When she no longer responded to therapy, the zoo made the decision to put her down on Wednesday.
Kariba was on quality-of-life watch, because of her age and health.
“These decisions are never easy and are made after discussions between the veterinary staff and animal care staff,” Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi said in a press release. “Kariba was geriatric and staff began to see a decline in her health in 2018. Examinations under anesthesia resulted in providing her with palliative care and close monitoring of her welfare.”
She had a longer life than most lions.
On average, lions live about 17 years under managed care. In the wild, lions live between 10 and 15 years.
Kariba spent the last 19 years of her life in Louisville, after a move from Wildlife Way Station in California in 2000.
The Louisville Zoo has one three-year-old male lion, Siyanda.