Lioness at Indianapolis Zoo kills father of her 3 cubs

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A lioness at the Indianapolis Zoo killed the father of her three cubs earlier this week. A statement posted on Friday from the zoo staff reported they had heard “an unusual amount of roaring at the lions” outdoor play area. The attack occurred early in the morning before the zoo opened to the public.

Zoo officials rushed over to the exhibit to find the lioness, Zuri fighting with the male lion, Nyack. Personnel tried everything they could to separate the two, but Zuri had a lock on Nyack’s neck and wouldn’t let go until he was dead. A Facebook post from the zoo stated:

“Our Zoo family is sad to announce that 10-yr-old male African lion Nyack has died. Earlier this week he was injured during a physical incident with female lion Zuri. We will conduct a thorough review to attempt to understand what may have led to this. 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.”

The lions had been together at the zoo for the past eight years, and there had been no reports of the two ever fighting. The pair had produced three cubs. A necropsy determined Nyack died of suffocation from injuries to his neck.

There have been numerous theories why Zuri attacked Nyack. Could the lion have been threatening her cubs? Could there have been a struggle for more food? Could Nyack have tried to cover Zuri when she turned on him?

Zuri and her cubs, Sukari, Mushaka and Enzi were not injured. Nyack had been described as “very vocal and laid back” while Zuri was known to be a very “protective mother.” Nyack came as a cub from the San Diego Zoo and had been on loan to the Indianapolis.

Rest in peace Nyack. What could be sadder?

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Yesterday in the news: Family left senior dog at shelter -told staff she’s “too old.” More here.

Additional News: Horrible! Men arrested for hanging dogs and beating them to death – more here.

5 replies
  1. Jan Barnes says:

    I hope somehow the cause of this horrible tragedy can be determined.
    Looks like animals are behaving more like humans–what could be sadder?!

  2. Sue says:

    I doubt this would have happened in their natural habitat, where animals can go their separate ways if they want too. Unfortunately, MAN has created a catch-22 for them (as well as the misery we visit upon every other species). If we let them run loose, even on a sanctuary, poachers are ready to blow them away. If we lock them up, we drastically lower their quality of life.
    Boy, are we smart and compassionate (NOT!!!).

  3. Laura says:

    Poor imprisoned lions; it’s like she didn’t want to birth anymore babies to that “life” and associated the pregnancies with the male’s (and her own) uncontrollable urge to mate when she was in heat, so that may be why she killed the poor guy? No other way out of creating more cubs. That may be too much understanding for a lion to have, but maybe not.


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