The lion, affectionately cherished by zoo staff and visitors alike, was compassionately euthanized on a somber Saturday, following a period of declining health, as disclosed by zoo authorities in a late Sunday announcement.
Kamaia’s health had been a source of concern since the spring, marked by a severe bout of pneumonia from which he managed to recover, along with other persistent health issues, as detailed in a statement by Zoo New England.
In an effort to address his health concerns, Kamaia underwent a pivotal surgical procedure on June 9: a successful splenectomy and blood transfusion. Prior to this procedure, a thorough examination had revealed his severe anemia and a significantly enlarged spleen. Subsequently, he underwent a second surgery to repair a hernia at the site of his incision, all of which he recovered from, giving zookeepers and visitors alike a glimpse of his regal presence as he enjoyed sunbathing and leisurely moments in his outdoor enclosure alongside his brother, Dinari.
John Linehan, President, and CEO of Zoo New England, expressed his heartfelt sorrow, remarking, “Kamaia was an incredible ambassador for his species, and we are deeply saddened to share the news of his passing. Throughout the past several months, his dedicated care team has worked tirelessly to treat and care for Kamaia and ensure that he was comfortable. This news is never easy, and we ask that you keep his care team in your thoughts at this difficult time.”
Kamaia and his sibling, Dinari, also aged 14, had been residents of Franklin Park Zoo since 2015. In the wake of Kamaia’s passing, Dinari remains in his outdoor habitat, a testament to their enduring bond.
Chris Bartos, Assistant Curator at Franklin Park Zoo, fondly remembered Kamaia, saying, “Kamaia was such an impressive presence. He was a favorite amongst his care team, and he really enjoyed his enrichment, including tearing into boxes and bags to look for the treats hidden inside, as well as rolling in unusual scents. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Kamaia’s passing marks the end of an era at Franklin Park Zoo, where his magnificence and grace touched the hearts of all who had the privilege of witnessing his majestic presence.