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African lion passes away at Santa Barbara Zoo

Chadwick had been at the zoo for more than 17 years
Posted at 11:43 AM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 21:46:01-05

The Santa Barbara Zoo is mourning the loss of another animal this year.

The zoo announced Thursday morning that Chadwick, a 21-year-old African lion, died from complications related to old age.

The geriatric lion “had dealt with age-related health issues for several years, and outlived the mean life expectancy by almost five years,” according to a post on the zoo's Instagram page.

“Chadwick has been dealing with health issues associated with his advancing age for several years. Two weeks ago he developed lameness in his right forelimb, which rapidly progressed to generalized pain that we suspected was associated with spinal changes. He did not respond to multiple treatments for pain relief,” Dr. Julie Barnes, vice president of Animal Care & Health, in a press release. “Three days ago, we performed a CT scan, which confirmed our suspicion that he had progression of degenerative spinal disease, which is common in geriatric carnivores. Based on his deteriorating condition and his advanced age, the decision was made for humane euthanasia.”

Born at the Indianapolis Zoo in 1998, Chadwick arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2003 and was the oldest male pedigreed lion alive in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited institution, the zoo said.

“We’ll miss Chadwick’s regal presence, trademark roar, and of course, seeing him perched on his rock overlooking the Pacific Ocean,” the zoo said.

The zoo says plans are in the works for more lions at the zoo, which may include "a male-female pair with a breeding recommendation from the AZA."

Donations to the zoo in Chadwick's memory can be made here.

Earlier this year, the zoo's last African elephantalso passed away after decades at the zoo.