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Zoo Knoxville grieves tragic death of lion cub

The lion cub was fatally injured by her mother when coming out of anesthesia, Zoo Knoxville said.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville has announced the tragic death of their 4-week-old lion cub.

According to a press release, the cub was fatally injured following a medical procedure for her mother, Amara, Thursday afternoon. Amara has had several sedations to be treated for acute renal deficiency since the cub was born. When coming out of anesthesia after the most recent procedure, Amara injured her cub. 

Zoo Knoxville said that while there was immediate intervention from the veterinary team, the cub died due to her injuries. 

Amara is being closely monitored for signs of distress or grief in addition to being treated for her ongoing kidney issues, Zoo Knoxville said. Depending on if her health remains stable, she will be reunited with her male companion, Upepo. 

"This is a devastating and heartbreaking loss. It was the request of her keepers that she be named ‘Zuri’, which is Swahili for ‘beautiful’, and that is how we will remember her. Life can be fragile and fleeting, and while this is a reality of our profession, it doesn’t make us immune from the pain of losing an animal," said Lisa New, Zoo Knoxville's President and CEO. 

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