Zoo Miami lioness euthanized after suffering spinal cord injury

Zoo Miami’s 11-year-old lioness, Kashifa, with her cubs. (Zoo Miami)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Zoo Miami’s 11-year-old lioness, Kashifa, was euthanized Monday, weeks after the zoo’s Animal Health and Animal Science teams discovered that she had lost mobility in her hind legs.

According to a news release, the discovery was made on March 4 while Kashifa was on exhibit.

The lioness was immobilized and underwent an MRI so that her spine and nerve function could be evaluated.

Veterinarians determined that Kashifa sustained a “non-compressive injury to her spinal cord,” the news release stated.

The lioness underwent nearly three weeks of intensive care, but did not show any signs of improvement.

“After a great deal of consultation and dedicated efforts to provide Kashifa with every possible path to recovery, it was determined that she had sustained a non-recoverable injury and the painfully difficult decision was made to euthanize her today,” the news release stated.

Kashifa was born at the Bronx Zoo in 2010 and gave birth to a litter of four cubs in 2014 at Zoo Miami.

“Not only was she a great mother to her 4 cubs, she also adopted the orphaned cub of her sister and not only raised him successfully, but often gave him special attention as if she realized the trauma he had been through losing his own mother,” the news release stated. “K’wasi has since moved on to Lion Country Safari where he has fathered cubs of his own.”

Zoo Miami employees say Kashifa’s cubs, which have now grown into adults, will be her legacy and they are “profoundly saddened by the loss of this magnificent animal.”

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.