News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

January 14, 2020


Female African Lion Euthanized at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. – The Chicago Zoological Society staff is devastated to announce the sudden loss of its female African lion, Isis. Her death comes less than two weeks after the loss of her mate Zenda, Brookfield Zoo’s male African lion, who was euthanized due age-related issues that impacted his quality of life.

Animal care staff checked on 14-year-old Isis in her outdoor habitat yesterday morning shortly after 9:00 a.m. and all appeared normal. However, upon revisiting the habitat a short time later, she was observed laying on the floor of the moat. Although not witnessed, it appears that Isis fell and was injured. Despite the immediate and intensive treatment provided by the veterinary staff, Isis sustained significant injuries and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize her today.

“The safety and well-being of the animals in our care is our utmost priority,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs. “Although it is unclear what caused her fall, we are reviewing all aspects of this tragic occurrence.”

Both Isis and Zenda arrived at Brookfield Zoo in May 2008. They could often be seen grooming one another and sleeping together. “Isis and her mate were majestic animals who had a strong bond. The staff, who dedicated their lives to care for these charismatic lions, are heartbroken by their loss,” added Zeigler.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

Photo Captions—credit Chicago Zoological Society
2679 - Isis, female African lion, at Brookfield Zoo
4896 - Isis, female African lion, at Brookfield Zoo
4957 - Isis, female African lion, at Brookfield Zoo
9960 - Zenda and Isis, the male and female African lion pair, at Brookfield Zoo
0006 - Zenda and Isis, the male and female African lion pair, at Brookfield Zoo
0007 - Zenda and Isis, the male and female African lion pair, at Brookfield Zoo


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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