Saturday, January 10, 2009

Male African lion dies at Buffalo Zoo

Lion known as “Simba” and “Apollo” was 19.
Vic Baker
BUFFALO, NY ( - The circle of life has claimed a popular inhabitant of the Buffalo Zoo. A male African Lion known by the names “Simba” and “Apollo” passed away Friday at the age of 19.
Male lions rarely live past 16 years in the wild but can survive longer in captivity. His keepers say Simba lived a long, healthy life at the Zoo, he had been receiving medication for age-related osteoarthritis for more than a year. As his health continued to deteriorate, Zoo officials made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the animal.

“My heart goes out to the keeper staff who raised and cared for him for the past 19 years. He was a majestic animal with a sweet disposition,” said Zoo president Donna M. Fernandes, Ph.D.

Simba was born at the Buffalo Zoo on September 8, 1989 to mother, Nasibu, and father, Mason. To ensure proper development, two keepers hand-reared him. He had been housed with Isiolo, a 19-year-old female, for the past 18 years. One of his favorite pastimes included laying in the sunshine and hiding below the viewing window by the Reptile House and suddenly jumping up to surprise visitors.

Simba was very popular with Zoo personnel and visitors, and he will be greatly missed.