Nyack, a 10-year old lion, was attacked and killed by the mother of their three cubs, even though the pair had been held together for years.
A lioness has attacked and killed the father of her three cubs at Indianapolis Zoo in the United States.
Staff were alerted by “an unusual amount of roaring” coming from the lion pen and found the female lion, a 12-year-old called Zuri, in a fight with Nyack, a 10-year-old male.
“She had Nyack by the neck. Keepers came up and saw what was occurring and made an attempt to separate the two. But she continued to hang onto Nyack by the neck until he stopped moving,” said the zoo’s curator, David Hagan.
Nyack was found to have died of suffocation from injuries to the neck.
The lions had been held together at the zoo for eight years, producing three cubs in 2015. The death devastated zookeepers and the cause may never be understood, the curator said.
“They build strong bonds with the animals so any loss affects us all greatly. For a lot of us, it’s just like a family member.”
The lioness had been on loan from San Diego Zoo. The zoo in Indianapolis said there were no plans to change how the lions would be managed.