‘Geriatric Lioness’ Euthanized at Maryland Zoo

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Cuma (via Maryland Zoo)
Cuma (via Maryland Zoo)

The circle of life has taken the Maryland Zoo’s matriarch to the great jungle in the sky.

Cuma, the zoo’s “geriatric lioness,” was euthanized Monday night after her health declined over the weekend. She lived to be 19 years old, which is above lions’ median life expentancy of 16.8 years.

“Cuma’s health had been in gradual decline from several age-related afflictions, but we had been able to keep her quite comfortable with multiple pain medications and joint supplements,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior veterinarian at the Zoo.  “This weekend Cuma suddenly became lethargic, and staff noted an unusual lack of appetite.”

Cuma came to Baltimore eight years ago from the Philadelphia Zoo. Staff said they will miss her “calm confidence,” and of course noted that she was always “very regal.”

Along with humans, Cuma’s male counterpart Hassan will also miss her.

“They were impressive exhibit animals and became very good companions for each other,” said Carey Ricciardone, the Zoo’s mammal collection and conservation manager.

It’s been a fall of partings in Druid Hill Park. In October, staff made the decision to euthanize the 17-year-old giraffe, Angel.



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