Kamau, ‘charismatic and iconic’ African lion at California’s Sacramento Zoo, dies at 16

Jun 18, 2023, 5:05 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Kamau, the African lion who was a star attraction at California’s Sacramento Zoo, has died at age 16, officials said.

The zoo said Kamau was euthanized Saturday, a day after the big cat was pulled off an exhibit because of declining health due to his advanced age.

The lion was considered elderly with worsening gastrointestinal problems, “and the difficult decision to proceed with humane euthanasia was made when medical treatment options failed to provide sufficient relief from his condition,” the zoo said in a statement.

The statement called Kamau one of the zoo’s “most charismatic and iconic animals.”

He came to Sacramento from the San Diego Zoo in 2008 and in the years since attracted crowds who hoped to hear his impressive roar.

In 2014, the lion sired a litter of cubs. A few years later, his habitat doubled in size, and a glass viewing wall allowed guests to get “nose-to-nose” with both Kamau and his mate, Cleo, the zoo said.

Cleo, now 18, is in good health. African lions typically live 10 to 15 years, the zoo said, but they can live up to 25 years in captivity.

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Kamau, ‘charismatic and iconic’ African lion at California’s Sacramento Zoo, dies at 16