It is with heavy hearts that we let you know of the passing of Kitambi, our handsome African lion.

Kitambi recently began showing signs of acute lameness and animal care staff began monitoring his condition. The lameness persisted and he became more lethargic with a loss of appetite. He was anesthetized and was found to have cellulitis or infection of his right rear leg. Blood work revealed severe depletion of his white blood cells, which indicate a severe, systemic infection. Kitambi’s health deteriorated rapidly, and despite the animal care team’s efforts, he died Tuesday evening, August 21, 2018, following his examination. The Zoo’s Executive Vice President of Animal Health and Collections, Dr. Gary West, worked with teams at Midwestern University Veterinary School on a pathology and necropsy evaluation and confirmed the systemic infection. 

Majestic. Breathtaking. Magnificent. Pick one and you’d be right. For millions of guests over the past seven years, Kitambi wasn’t just a beautiful animal; he was an experience. Sometimes that experience was watching him enjoy his mid-morning naps. Other times, it was his awe-inspiring territorial call in the evening. And maybe it was just spending a few moments staring at his majesty. No matter when you saw Kitambi, the experience was both unique and profound.

September 29, 2009 – August 21, 2018