The Houston Zoo confirmed this morning that 18-year-old Jonathan The African Lion has passed away.
A statement by the Houston Zoo states veterinarians discovered he had a serious blood clotting issue and low white blood cell count. Jonathan fell ill last week and his conditioned worsened over the past few days.
“Jonathan’s impact on our keepers and guests will not be forgotten,” said Dr. Adrian Fowler, Vice President of Animal Operations for the Houston Zoo. “Our team of keepers who have spent more than a decade caring and bonding with this incredible animal is grieving this loss, and we support them through this sad time.”
The majestic lion spent most of his life at The Houston Zoo after being rescued from a private owner in 2006.
According to the Houston Zoo, there are less than 30,000 lions left in Africa which are half of the number from 20 years ago.
The biggest issue lions face is the conflict with people and loss of habitat and prey due to human population growth.
It’s heartbreaking to learn of a such a beautiful creatures passing, but I’m honored to have had Jonathan The Lion in Houston for the time we did.