Lincoln Park Zoo bids farewell to 18-year-old lion

Lincoln Park Zoo is saddened to report on Feb. 1 that animal care staff made the difficult decision to euthanize Adelor, a geriatric male African lion due to progressively deteriorating health and quality of life.

Adelor was 18 years old and lived at the zoo since 1995. Over the years he fathered five cubs. Guests of the zoo often remarked that seeing him was a highlight of their visit.

“He would often be seen lying on the top of the large boulders of the exhibit where he could survey his territory and monitor his pride,” said Mark Kamhout, zoological manager.

“Guests of all ages would flock to the lion exhibit when Adelor began roaring as he announced his territory several times a day. He was a wonderful leader of the pride and was very

protective and affectionate of the females under his care.”

The median life expectancy for lions (assuming the individual survives the first year of life, a particularly risky time for most mammals) is approximately 14 years. The maximum

longevity recorded is 26 years.

Adelor was one of many geriatric animals living at Lincoln Park Zoo. With advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition, husbandry techniques and exhibitry, animals are living longer in zoos and aquariums around the nation.

As a result, managers and care takers develop new ways to address the unique needs of geriatric animals.

Fifteen-year-old female lioness, Myra, is the sole remaining African lion at Lincoln Park. The zoo is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Lion Species Survival Plan to identify another lion, or lions,

which can be brought here to accompany Myra. No firm plans have yet been determined.

African lions are native to the southern Sahara Desert down to southern Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest region. Wild populations are classified as vulnerable, with numbers declining due to habitat loss throughout Africa.

Lincoln Park Zoo is helping conserve the species through the Serengeti Health Initiative, a program dedicated to studying the Serengeti ecosystem and working to eradicate diseases like rabies and distemper that impact wild lion populations there.

Adelor was a beloved individual and ambassador for his wild brethren. The Lincoln Park Zoo family is saddened by his loss. A memorial page has been set up in his honor. Adelor fans and friends of the zoo are welcome to leave comments, share memories, or express condolences to animal care staff who are especially affected by his loss. Visit the memorial page here: www.lpzoo.org/adelor

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