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Houston Zoo Lion Dies: Staff, Visitors Mourn 18-Year-Old Jonathan

Image: Houston Zoo Lion Dies: Staff, Visitors Mourn 18-Year-Old Jonathan

In this photo taken July 31, 2012, Jonathan the lion enjoys some cold water from carnivore keeper Angie Pyle at the Houston Zoo. (J. Patric Schneider/AP Photo/Houston Chronicle)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 05:22 PM

Jonathan, the 18-year-old male lion at the Houston Zoo, died Wednesday morning. He hadn't been feeling well, and despite veterinarians' best efforts, he passed away.

It was determined that the lion had a blood clotting issue and low white blood cell count, which are not uncommon conditions among older lions, the Houston Zoo wrote on its website. The average life expectancy of a lion in captivity is 15 to 20 years, which is longer than lions in the wild, who typically live only 10 to 14 years. 

Johnathan was rescued from a private owner at just a few years old and spent the rest of his life at the zoo. He arrived in 2006 and was a favorite of guests and keepers alike.

In recent years, he spent a lot of time lounging in the sun surrounded by the three females that made up his pride. He was known for his spectacular mane and regal manner.

The number of lions in the wild in Africa is thought to be about 30,000, which is half the number found 20 years ago. Much of the lions’ habitat has been lost to development and hunting practices.

“Jonathan’s impact on our keepers and guests will not be forgotten,” said the zoo’s Vice President of Animal Operations, Dr. Adrian Fowler. “Our team of keepers who have spent more than a decade caring and bonding with this incredible animal are grieving this loss, and we support them through this sad time.”

The Twitter community is sharing in the grief over this loss as well.

 

 

 

 

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Jonathan, the 18-year-old male lion at the Houston Zoo, died Wednesday morning. He hadn't been feeling well, and despite veterinarians' best efforts, he passed away.
houston, zoo, lion, dies
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2016-22-14
Wednesday, 14 Sep 2016 05:22 PM
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