Nimue, the female lion at the Houston Zoo. 

THE HOUSTON ZOO is usually a place filled with joy, discovery, and happiness, but our local animal kingdom is mourning the death of one of their beloved animals.

In a July 10 news blog, the zoo announced that they decided to euthanize Nimue, a female old lion, who was 12 years old. 

The Houston Zoo also mentions that the lion had undergone surgery on July 1 to remove bone fragments stuck in her gastrointestinal tract. On Saturday morning, animal care professionals found her unexpectedly unresponsive, along with an open incision from the surgery. A few hours later, they decided to humanely euthanize her, as her condition was too severe to save. 

“Despite emergency intervention by the Zoo’s veterinary team, her condition was too severe, and the team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the 12-year-old big cat,” officials shared in a statement. 

“It is never an easy decision to euthanize an animal, but it is one we make with the animal’s well-being as the top priority,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. “With world-class animal keepers, five incredible veterinarians, and a complete veterinary clinic, our animals receive the best care possible, and that includes end-of-life decisions.”

According to Avendano, zookeepers and other zoo employees who spent more than a decade caring and bonding with the lion are currently mourning her loss.

Nimue spent more than 10 years at the Houston Zoo with her sisters, Uzima and Mattie. She was known for being an energetic animal, especially with her keepers. Along with her surviving pride, her sisters, and Hasani, a male lion, she was an ambassador for their wild counterparts in Africa and served to educate guests about the work being done to help save their species.

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