Zoo Knoxville Saddened to Announce Death of Elsa Lion

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo Knoxville Saddened to Announce Death of Elsa Lion

Posted: 09/23/2019
Elsa African LionZoo Knoxville is saddened to announce the death of Elsa African lion.  

The 13-year-old lioness was being treated for a systemic inflammatory reaction.  On Saturday, her health began to decline rapidly and she became unresponsive.  Despite emergency intervention by the zoo’s veterinary team, her quality of life continued to deteriorate.  When it became apparent she would not make a recovery, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.      

Elsa was born at Zoo Knoxville on June 6, 2006, and was a beloved ambassador for her species.  Over her lifetime, she educated millions of visitors about African lions and inspired people to take action to save them from extinction.      

Zoo Knoxville is home to African lions Jimmy, Zarina and Ann.  They are part of the African Lion Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) working to ensure a healthy and viable population of lions in human care.  The number of lions in Africa are decreasing due to habitat loss and human intrusion, and it is estimated that fewer than 40,000 lions remain in the wild.