Henry, the nearly 18-year-old African lion at the Henry Vilas Zoo, has died.
Officials say Henry's health and quality of life had been progressively deteriorating in association with late stage renal failure.
Henry arrived at Henry Vilas Zoo in 1997. Henry and his mate, Vilas, who passed in 2012, were the first residents of the zoo’s newly renovated Big Cat Exhibit.
Beginning in 2003, Vilas and Henry successfully raised eight cubs that have been transferred to other zoos as part of the AZA Lion Species Survival Plan. Henry and Vilas’ cubs can be visited at the Milwaukee Zoo, the Racine Zoo, The NEW Zoo in Green Bay, the Topeka Zoo, Blank Park Zoo, and Tautphaus Park Zoo.
Henry had been recently paired with Shakura, the zoo’s young female lioness, earlier this year after Vilas’ passing.
Even though Henry and Shakura were together for a short period of time, zoo staff are hopeful that they may have successfully bred.
The mean life expectancy for African lions in zoos is 16.8 years.