Franklin Park Zoo mourns death of 14-year-old lion

Local News

Kamaia, a male lion, was humanely euthanized on Saturday due to declining health.

Kamaiah, a lion at Franklin Park Zoo.
Kamaia was humanely euthanized on Saturday due to declining health, Zoo New England said. Eric Kilby/Zoo New England

Kamaia, a 14-year-old lion at Franklin Park Zoo, died on Saturday, according to Zoo New England. 

Kamaia was humanely euthanized due to declining health, zoo officials said.

Kamaia had been battling severe pneumonia and other chronic health issues for a few months. Kamaia was severely anemic with a greatly enlarged spleen. He underwent a successful splenectomy and blood transfusion on June 9 and a second surgery to repair a hernia at his incision site. 

In recovery from surgery, zoo officials said Kamaia spent the last few months lounging in the sun with his 14-year-old brother Dinari. 

“Kamaia was an incredible ambassador for his species, and we are deeply saddened to share the news of his passing,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England president and CEO. “Throughout the past several months, his dedicated care team has worked tirelessly to treat and care for Kamaia and ensure that he was comfortable. This news is never easy, and we ask that you keep his care team in your thoughts at this difficult time.”

Kamaia and Dinari have resided at Franklin Park Zoo since 2015. Dinari can continue to be seen in his outdoor habitat, zoo officials said. 

“Kamaia was such an impressive presence,” said Chris Bartos, an assistant curator at Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo. “Kamaia was a favorite amongst his care team, and he really enjoyed his enrichment including tearing into boxes and bags to look for the treats hidden inside, as well as rolling in unusual scents. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.” 

National Geographic states that lions in captivity live to an average age of 25 years, while the life expectancy of a lion in the wild is about 12-16 years of age.