Wellington Zoo devastated after having to euthanise their last two lions

Must See 08/04/2021

Wellington Zoo's two beloved elderly lioness' have sadly had to be euthanised, the Zoo confirmed today on social media.

The two lions, Zahra and Djane, were almost 20 years old and had deterioted due to old age. The zoo said that over the weekend Djane’s demeanour went through a dramatic change, leaving her uninterested in her food. After an emergency surgery on Monday that showed no improvements, Djane was euthanised on Thursday.

Due to the close nature of the two sisters who had lived their whole life together, Wellington Zoo realised that leaving Zahra on her own, when lions are naturally such family-orientated animals, would be devestating for her welfare.

They made the decision to euthanise Zahra at the same time.

To read what Wellington Zoo said in an Instagram post about the two elderly lion sisters, read below.

"We are very sad to announce that we had to make the incredibly tough decision to euthanise our elderly Lionesses, Zahra and Djane today."

"As these cats were almost 20 years old, our animal care and veterinary teams had been closely monitoring both Lionesses over the past 18 months due to age-related health concerns. Over the weekend Zoo Keepers had observed dramatic changes to Djane’s demeanour and she had become disinterested in her food. After an emergency procedure on Monday, we were hopeful about Djane’s recovery, however her health continued to deteriorate quickly and the decision to euthanise Djane was made today.

"Lions are incredibly social and family orientated animals, and Zahra’s welfare would have been severely compromised if she was left to live as a solitary Lion, so Zahra was also euthanised today. Zahra and Djane are litter siblings and share a very strong, sisterly bond. As carers for these animals, their welfare and how they experience life is always at the core of our work and these decisions are never easy. However the decision to euthanise both Lions was the best and kindest thing for them."

"It’s been an incredibly difficult day for everyone at Wellington Zoo, especially the team who cared for Djane and Zahra. We know that our community loves our Lions and will be equally sad to lose these beautiful animals.

"Lions have been part of the Wellington Zoo community since we first opened in 1906, when the Zoo was gifted a male Lion, King Dick. While we will be without Lions for a while, in time we will look at welcoming a new pride to the Zoo, so we can continue our conservation work with this iconic species."