Colchester Zoo mourns the death of lioness Malika
- Credit: DAVID MARSAY
A 16-year-old lioness named Malika has sadly died at Colchester Zoo after suffering with liver disease.
Malika’s health deteriorated over a very short period of time and keepers noticed she had become very lethargic and had a loss of appetite.
After close consultation with the zoo’s vet, different treatments and therapies were recommended but unfortunately, they had less effect than hoped.
On Tuesday, October 13 the decision was taken to examine Malika under general anaesthetic.X-rays, ultrasound examinations and bloods were taken and vets discovered she had liver disease.
Although Malika recovered from the anaesthetic, the prospect of the lioness making a full recovery was slim.
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Despite this, the Animal Care Team held out hope that Malika would pull through, so she underwent further medication.
Unfortunately, on the morning of Wednesday, October 14 Malika passed away despite all efforts taken to help her.
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Malika leaves behind her sister Naja and cousin, male lion Bailey.
The trio had a strong bond with one another as they were all related and were not a breeding group, having lived at Colchester Zoo since 2010.
Despite Bailey being the dominant male within the pride, Malika was also very much ‘in charge’, said the zookeepers.
They said she loved her food and would often have first pickings after cheekily stealing from Bailey.
Hannah, one of Malika’s keepers said: “Malika was our feisty protective female of the pride who had a big personality and would always protect her sister Naja.
“Malika will definitely leave a big hole in the hearts of the Animal Care Team and Lion Rock will not be the same without her.”
Colchester Zoo added: “There is never a good time to say goodbye to an animal who has been part of the family for so many years, it is always a very difficult and sad time, even more so in these unprecedented times we find ourselves in.
“The Animal Care Team will be making sure that Bailey and Naja recover from the loss of Malika as well as supporting one another through this sad time.”
Malika’s death comes a few months after the tragic loss of a baby cheetah cub at the zoo.
The unnamed cub, which died overnight, was one of five born by mother Sia in April.
The four remaining cubs were named Nova, Hope, Star and Colonel Tom to honour NHS staff working on the cornavirus frontline.