A lioness is reported to have killed the father of her three cubs in Indianapolis Zoo this week. Zoo officials said in a statement on Friday that they could hear an “unusual amount of roaring” in the lions’ outdoor yard, per CNN.
When zoo officials went to see what was going on, they saw the lioness, named Zuri, in a confrontation with her adult male counterpart, Nyack.
As the animals got into a fight, zoo officials tried their best to separate the two lions but it was too late as “Zuri held Nyack by the neck until he stopped moving,” the statement said, as reported by CNN.
Results of the necropsy performed by zoo veterinarians on Nyack’s dead body revealed that the lion, who was 10 years of age, received injuries to his neck and died of suffocation.
The two Indianapolis Zoo lions had been living in the same enclosure for eight years and had produced three cubs together. According to zoo officials, this was the first time the two lions got into an aggressive physical fight.
According to CNN, Zoo officials also said in the statement that Nyack was a beloved lion and used to receive many visitors.
“He was a magnificent male lion and left his legacy in his three cubs.”
Zoo officials also said that an investigation has been launched into the incident, but they do not have any plans to change the way they manage the lions.
The incident took place on Monday before the zoo opened to visitors, therefore, nobody except for zoo officials witnessed the horrific scene.
However, in 2013, hundreds of zoo visitors had the shock of their lives when they saw a male lion kill a lioness in Dallas Zoo, years after the two lions lived together peacefully.
According to a report by the Independent, the male lion turned on the lioness all of a sudden, forced his powerful jaw around her throat, and dragged her to the ground. A necropsy performed on the lioness revealed that she received severe injuries to her neck and died of hemorrhage.
At the time, the vice-president of Dallas Zoo said in a statement that he had never witnessed such an unfortunate incident before.
“This is a very rare and unfortunate occurrence. In my 35 years as a veterinarian in zoos, I’ve never seen this happen. Although male lions do sometimes kill other males and sometimes cubs in the wild, attacking a female is extremely rare.”
In another episode that took place in England’s Knowsley Safari Park in 2015, a group of female lionesses in the pride attacked a male lion because he was too old, as reported by the Mirror.
The lion had to be euthanized because he sustained too many injuries and there was no chance of survival.
Zoo officials said that the lionesses attacked the old lion because it is a “natural behaviour for a pride when the male is no longer able to maintain the grace of the females.”