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Columbus Zoo's Kazi the African lion passes away

Kazi, who was nearly 16 years old, died on Tuesday. The African lion had spinal arthritis and secondary spinal cord compression.
Credit: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

POWELL, Ohio — A beloved African lion at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium passed away earlier this week.

Kazi, who was nearly 16 years old, died on Tuesday. The zoo said on social media Friday that she lived a long life as the average life expectancy for lions in human care is 16.9 years. 

 According to the zoo, keepers noticed a change in the way Kazi was walking and moving. A CT scan revealed that there were multiple areas of spinal arthritis and secondary spinal cord compression.

Kazi was given several medications to help ease some of the compression and inflammation of her spinal cord. Even though she responded well to the medical management, Kazi's mobility started to significantly decline. The zoo's Animal Health and Animal Care teams decided to humanely euthanize the lion. 

"We will miss Kazi tremendously, and her legacy will live on with the pride. Please keep our Heart of Africa team and everyone who loved Kazi in your thoughts," the zoo said. 

Kazi was born at Denver Zoo on Oct. 25, 2006, and arrived at the Columbus zoo on Sept. 17, 2007. 

While at the zoo, Kazi had two sons: Loiwotwa and Donovan. Loiwotwa was transferred to the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo & Adventure Park in April 2017 and Donovan was sent to the Akron Zoo in April 2019. 

The zoo described Kazi as the core of its pride. She was tough but also had a soft and sweet side. 

The zoo said the African lion always enjoyed her training but knew when to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

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