The Indianapolis Zoo is reeling from an unexpected and grisly incident that ended in the death of one of its most beloved inhabitants. Now, authorities are trying to piece together the events leading up to the tragic attack, and what could have provoked the completely unprecedented event.
The tragedy occurred when a pair of lions that have lived together at the zoo for eight years got into an uncharacteristic altercation, something that zoo officials say they had never witnessed in the past. The two had always gotten along well, but something happened to change that - early Monday morning - when everything went horribly wrong.
Nyack a ten-year-old male lion had been on loan from the San Diego Zoo as part of “a program promoting species conservation.” He was soon paired with a lioness named Zuri with whom he fathered three cubs. The family lived together in what seemed like perfect harmony ever since.
On that fateful morning, before the Zoo had opened to the public, the staff was alerted by “an unusual amount of roaring” coming from their enclosure. Shocked zookeepers were stunned to discover Zuri attacking Nyack in front of their cubs.
Zuri had ahold of Nyack's neck, refusing to let go despite every effort by the staff to separate the two. Zuri continued to clutch her mate by the neck until he was no longer moving. That is when she finally retreated.
A necropsy report indicates that the male cat died from suffocation due to the injuries inflicted upon his neck. The loss has been devastating to the staff at the Indianapolis Zoo, who describe the male cat as wonderful, friendly, and magnificent.
“Our Zoo family is sad to announce 10-yr-old male lion Nyack has died. Earlier this week he was injured in a physical incident with female lion Zuri. We will conduct a thorough review to attempt to understand what may have led to this.”
On their Facebook page, they added this statement:
“Zuri and the other three lions are all ok. Zuri and Nyack had three cubs together three years ago. Nyack was a magnificent lion and he will be greatly missed. We appreciate the support from our community as we cope with the loss.”
Whether human or animal, the death of a friend is a difficult event to go through. Will you join us in praying for all who are feeling this terrible loss today?