NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Zoo’s 18-year-old African lion Mramba and 48-year-old white-cheeked gibbon Asia, who were two of the oldest living animals of their species, were recently humanely euthanized after experiencing complications from old age.
“Please keep our staff and volunteers in your thoughts during these difficult times,” the zoo said in a statement announcing the deaths.
Asia was one of the oldest white-cheeked gibbons in North America at age 48, the zoo says. Typically her species lives about 25-28 years on average in the wild. She had quality of life concerns and was euthanized last month.
The zoo says 18-year-old Mramba, the zoo’s beloved patriarch lion, had arthritis and chronic kidney disease and the kidney disease recently progressed into end-stage renal failure. His quality of life had deteriorated so much that medications were no longer keeping him comfortable.
He was one of the oldest lions in human care at more than 18 years old, the zoo says, after coming to Norfolk in 2004. African lions usually live between 10-14 years in the wild and 16 years in captivity.
“We find comfort in knowing that he was given the best possible care every day of his life and have been fortunate to share his legacy with our community,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.
Mramba had seven cubs with mate Zola, who died in 2020 at nearly 16 years old. You can see more photos of Mramba here on the zoo’s website.