photo - full face head shot of kenya the lion, laying down, has beautiful mane of brown hair around neck and face, very intense yellow eyes, dark short muzzle, with mouth and nose, ears are very noticeable in its mane, looking intently at the camera

Louisville Zoo Says Sad Goodbye To Male Lion Kenya (Media Release)

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

With great sadness, The Louisville Zoo said goodbye to near 18-year-old male lion Kenya today.

Kenya had been on what the Zoo calls a quality-of-life watch. Today, Zoo keepers and veterinary staff met to discuss his recent rapid decline and failing health.

Kenya was losing weight; his appetite had decreased and he wasn’t eating well. He was weak and was receiving treatment for thrombocytopenia, a condition characterized by low blood platelets and difficulty clotting.

The decision was made to humanely euthanize Kenya today due to a poor response to treatments and declining quality of life. A necropsy and complete pathologic examination will be performed.

“These decisions are never easy and certainly never made lightly,” said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Julie Ter Beest. “His condition was worsening and he was getting more uncomfortable.”

The median life expectancy of lions in a managed care system is 16.9 years. In the wild an adult male lion may live 12 years.

Kenya came to the Louisville Zoo in 2005 from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. . Kenya shared the exhibit with 19-year-old female lion Kariba.


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).