“Brookfield Zoo Mourns the Loss of Isis the Lioness”

Twelve days after the Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.) had to put down Zenda the lion at Brookfield Zoo in west suburban Brookfield, Illinois, the veterinary staff had to put down his mate, Isis the lioness, after she suffered an accidental injury.  Both African lions arrived at the Brookfield Zoo in May of 2008.

The C.Z.S. announced today, Tuesday, January 14, A.D. 2020 that Isis the lioness fell into a moat yesterday and was put down today.  Whereas Zenda had been euthanized due to “age-related issues that impacted his quality of life” on Thursday, January 2, A.D. 2020, Isis had been fine when zookeepers checked in on her a little after nine o’clock yesterday morning, but when they checked her again a short time later they found her lying on the floor of her habitat’s moat.  There were no witnesses to the event, but the zookeepers surmised Isis had fallen into the moat and suffered an injury.  Veterinary staff rendered “immediate and intensive treatment,” according to the C.Z.S., but she had “sustained significant injuries” and the C.Z.S. made “the difficult decision…to humanely euthanize her today.”

“The safety and well-being of the animals in our care is our utmost priority,” stated 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.”

Zenda was thirteen at the time of his death, and Isis was fourteen.  Zoo visitors, staff, and volunteers often saw Zenda and Isis grooming one another.  Another common sight was the two of them asleep with Zenda’s paw on Isis. 

“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 Mr. Zeigler.

Figure 1 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: This is Isis the African lioness on September 30, 2019.

Figure 2 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: This is Isis the African lioness on October 6, 2019.

Figure 3 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: This is another view of Isis the African lioness on October 6, 2019.

Figure 4 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: Here, we see Zenda the African lion and his mate, Isis the African lioness, on March 3, 2009 at 2:16 p.m.

Figure 5 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: Here, we see Zenda the African lion and his mate, Isis the African lioness, on March 3, 2009 at 2:17 p.m.

Figure 6 Credit: Chicago Zoological Society Caption: Here, we see Zenda the African lion and his mate, Isis the African lioness, on July 19, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.

      The Chicago Zoological Society (C.Z.S.) is a private, non-profit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.  Founded in 1920 and chartered in 1921, the C.Z.S. brought to life the vision of Edith Rockefeller McCormick (1872-1932) to give Chicago a zoo without bars modeled on the Tierpark Hagenbeck, known in English as the Hagenbeck Animal Park, a privately-owned zoo in Hamburg founded in 1907 by Carl Hagenback, Junior (1844-1913).  The Brookfield Zoo opened in 1934, during the second year of Chicago’s second World’s Fair, A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34). 

      The C.Z.S. is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The Brookfield Zoo met the American Humane Association’s rigorous standards for the care and welfare of animals to become the world’s first zoo to receive Humane Certified™ certification.

      The Brookfield Zoo is open every day of the year.  It is located between the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) and Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and is also accessible via the TriState Tollway (I-294).  The North Gate Main Entrance address is 8400 West 31st Street, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  The South Gate Main Entrance address is 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, Illinois 60513.  A train station, the Hollywood (Zoo Stop) on Metra’s B.N.S.F. line, is a few blocks to the south of the South Gate entrance.  The phone number is (708) 688-8000.  The Website is www.czs.org/Brookfield-ZOO/Home.

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