The Oregon Zoo’s Oldest African Lion, Neka, Dies at 16

The reduction of Neka, who had a fatal seizure Friday, has been “heartbreaking” for the zoo

Michael Durham/ Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is mourning 1 of its longtime residents.

On Saturday, the zoo introduced that its oldest African lion, Neka, had died at age 16. According to a push launch the zoo sent to Individuals, Neka was born at the Virginia Zoo in 2007, and moved to the Oregon Zoo’s Predators of the Serengeti habitat two years later on. In her life time, Neka mothered a few cubs, all in 2013 — and every single of them is now living at other accredited zoos across the state.

Sadly, Neka endured a lethal seizure just before her passing on Friday. At 16, she was regarded as “geriatric” for her species.

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“This is a heartbreaking day, specially for her care staff,” Kelly Gomez, who oversees the zoo’s Africa spot, said in a push launch. “Some of our keepers had recognized Neka for 14 several years, considering that she to start with arrived at the zoo. When you care for an animal just about every day like that, for years, you kind extremely shut bonds. She was a beloved and gorgeous lion, and it will not be the exact same without her.”

Even though Neka lived a long and prosperous life, this is a main reduction amid conservationists, as African lion populations continue to dwindle.

“Neka touched the hearts of millions of people in the course of her lifetime, and we hope her legacy will be a single of inspiration and hope for her species,” Gomez additional. “As a short while ago as 25 yrs in the past, lions were being popular in the course of a lot of East Africa, but populations have been dwindling, and much less than 25,000 wild lions are now imagined to remain.”

This will come a small a lot more than a 12 months immediately after the Oregon Zoo welcomed a new little one orangutan, who was named following Dolly Parton’s hit music “Jolene.” At the time, Folks claimed the primate’s name paid out homage to the financial institution teller from the tune whose “splendor is past compare” with “flaming locks of auburn hair.”

Courtesy Oregon Zoo

Courtesy Oregon Zoo

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Jolene was born on April 13, 2022, to 20-calendar year-old mom Kitra, a critically endangered Bornean orangutan. At the time, Persons reported that zookeepers gave the mother and little one “plenty of home to bond,” so they went many months without the need of being equipped to give Jolene a appropriate examination. But soon after pinpointing she was a girl, the name trapped.

“The moment we verified she was a female, our keeper crew knew ideal away what they wanted to get in touch with her,” the zoo’s primate pro, Kate Gilmore, said in a push launch. “They’ve been taking part in the song on repeat at any time because!”

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