The El Paso Zoo is mourning the loss of one of their animal family members, Zari, a 15-year-old African lioness.

We are devastated to report that our female African lioness, Zari, has passed away,” wrote Zoo officials on their Facebook page.

According to the post, Zoo staff made the decision to euthanize Zari after the team had discovered she had bile duct cancer that had metastasized and could not be treated any further.

“The name Zari means ‘Golden’ and she was just that, in every way; in her beauty, her demeanor, her love for her pride, especially her sisters,” said Amanda Leverett, El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens Collections Supervisor. “We will all miss her golden ways.”

Courtesy: El Paso Zoo
Courtesy: El Paso Zoo

Locals are sharing their condolences and memories of Zari online, with some comments coming from other states:

“So sorry El Paso. Kansas City sends condolences to your keepers and docents.”


Thank you for allowing me to take so many wonderful photos of you Zari.”


“Oh no not another lion well this time a lioness so sad to hear! I'm so sorry to the entire zoo staff I'm sure you all are devastated by this! It's always so sad and hard when we lose one of our animals from our small but beautiful zoo! Run free Zari may you rest in your golden place!”


“Awww sweet baby, so sorry to hear this. I know the loss of an animal is hard on everyone, but especially her keepers. Sweet Zari, you're with Rudo now.”


Rudo was the El Paso Zoo’s only African Lion. He was 7-years-old when passed away in August of 2020.

According to Zoo officials, Rudo was euthanized after suffering a neurological disorder which left the right side of his body completely paralyzed.

Courtesy: El Paso Times
Courtesy: El Paso Times


Zari came to El Paso from the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2010 along with her sisters Kalliope and Malaika.

Kalliope passed away in 2021 due to a tumor in her chest. Malaika remains at the El Paso Zoo along with the 5-year-old male lion, Hodari.

Losing a family member, human or animal, is always tough so my heart goes out to the staff at the El Paso Zoo.


Zari The African Lioness

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