CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Zoo announced that it euthanized a 22-year-old white lion Monday, citing age-related health issues.
Zoo officials said they made the difficult decision to euthanize the Prosperity lion because zookeepers observed their mobility and quality of life decreased over a period of several months.
The median life expectancy for white lions is 16 years. Zoo officials attribute Prosperity’s longevity to the special geriatric enrichment, nutrition, and care she received from her care team.
Prosperity was born in Las Vegas under the care of the famous Siegfried and Roy, where she was raised by Roy himself. She was brought to the Cincinnati Zoo in 1998.
Laura Carpenter, one of Prosperity’s long-time carers, wrote about her memories of Prosperity in a blog post for the zoo. Carpenter said she wasn’t sure the lion would be able to transition from being treated with stars to living in the zoo.
“Prosperity began life in the Las Vegas spotlight and was brought on stage in a limo. Used to a very privileged life, she came to us on her own private jet and was fed from a silver platter. Because of this, I had my doubts that she would adapt to a lifestyle in a zoo. But she got along well and loved ours [lions]. ”
According to the blog post, Prosperity would continue to be named the official US Senate mascot and mother of three male boys and one female. The males were eventually taken to the Toledo Zoo while their daughter Gracious stayed in Cincinnati.
18 year old Gracious is closely monitored and specially cared for as she adapts to life without her mother. Because Gracious is also considered older for her species, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has not recommended moving her to another facility to live with other lions, the zoo said.
Carpenter said prosperity is “the special lion”.
“You were the best lion anyone could hope for,” said Carpenter. “It is a great honor for me to be able to look after you during these many years.”