December 30, 2016 / 10:26 PM / 3 years ago

Zenda, oldest lion in U.S., euthanized by Philadelphia Zoo

(Reuters) - The Philadelphia Zoo has euthanized a 25-year-old lioness believed to have been the oldest lion in the United States after the animal suffered an acute decline in mobility and behavior, the zoo said on Friday.

Lioness Zenda, born at the Johannesburg Zoo in 1991, arrived in Philadelphia in 1993 and became a fan favorite over the years, the Philadelphia Zoo said in a statement.

“This remarkable cat will be missed by staff and guests alike, particularly by the keepers who catered to her changing needs as she grew old,” said Dr. Andy Baker, chief operating officer at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The typical life expectancy of lions in zoos is 17 years, the zoo said. There are six other African lions who live at its Big Cat Falls habitat.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler

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