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Female lion euthanized at Calgary Zoo

File: Calgary Zoo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

CALGARY – The Calgary Zoo was forced to euthanize one of its oldest lions earlier this month.

Officials said on the zoo’s website that Mbira’s health was declining, and an examination by their veterinary team revealed she had cancer in her spleen that was beginning to spread to her abdomen.

In addition, the 20-year-old lion’s kidneys had failed.

The median life expectancy for lions in zoos is 16.8 years.

“Our thoughts are with the members of the animal care team that cared for her for so many years,” read the Calgary Zoo’s website.

Mbira originally came to Calgary from the Aalborg Zoo in Denmark in 1997.

She is survived by her 20-year-old half-sister Tisha, and our younger males, Aslun and Baruti.

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The Calgary Zoo is also mourning the loss of a Red River hog which died suddenly last month.

Kumi, a three-year-old female, passed away on Sept. 17 following an infection.

Other Red River hogs at the zoo showed signs they may have contracted the same infection, and were put on antibiotics as a precaution. Officials said the animals responded positively and are back to normal activity and appetite levels.

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