Remembering Nala: ‘Queen of the Zoo’

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By Christyn Allen

ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The Erie Zoo has a number of well loved animals and fan favorites, but perhaps none of them compare to Nala, the African Lioness. She’s affectionately nicknamed “Queen of the Zoo.”

“Nala has been a beloved member of the Erie Zoo for well over two decades. She came here when she was just four months old, so there are some animal keepers here who have taken care of her since she was a baby, all the way through today,” said Emily Smicker of the Erie Zoo.

Monday, at the age of 24, Nala was humanely euthanized after her care team made observations over the weekend that her quality of life was rapidly diminishing. “It was time we had to euthanize her and say goodbye,” said Smicker.

It was a difficult, but inevitable decision for the zoo to make. African lions have a life expectancy of 10-18 years. Twenty-four year old Nala far surpassed that. “At 24, Nala was actually one of the oldest lions in the world at the time of her death,” she said.

Online, people are remembering Nala. Some sharing videos and photos of the sassy and spunky queen. “She has a very sweet and kind demeanor. She was very loving to her visitors and caregivers, but she also had a bit of a stubborn streak, which we adore. We dubbed her affectionately ‘the queen of the zoo’ because Nala did what Nala wanted on Nala’s time.”

“We really want to thank our community, and visitors, and members for all the kind thoughts and well wishes while we are grieving her passing, so thank you so much for all the kindness being sent our way,” said Smicker.

The Zoo will operate at its regular hours from 10am to 5pm.


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