El Paso Zoo African lion, Rudo, dies

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The El Paso Zoo says Rudo, the 7-year-old male African lion died Sunday.

According to the Zoo, Rudo suffered a neurological event last weekend that left the right size of his body paralyzed. Zookeepers and veterinarian staff managed his health and determined his prognosis was poor. The decision to euthanize him was made this weekend.

“For the past 6 years, we have watched Rudo grow from a nervous, timid young lion into a confident and strong leader of his pride.  It gave us great joy to see him get his courage and bond with his three females,” Amanda Leverett, Zoo Collections Supervisor. “We are so saddened at this very sudden loss that came way too soon and wish we could all have more time with him.”  

According to the Zoo, several tests, including an MRI performed at The Hospitals of Providence, were done over the last week to determine what the best course of action was for Rudo. The tests showed Rudo had a severe inflammatory spinal cord lesion in his neck which was inoperable.

Over the week, zookeepers and veterinary staff worked around the clock to make sure Rudo was comfortable and pain-free, and initiated treatments to control the inflammation. Despite these efforts, Rudo’s condition did not improve. 

“It was a huge team effort all week to give Rudo the intensive care he needed to allow time for possible improvement and response to treatment. Ultimately, his spinal cord condition was too far deteriorated to recover, and we had to say goodbye – it is an unexpected and deep loss,” Dr. Victoria Milne, Chief Zoo Veterinarian. 

Rudo arrived at the El Paso Zoo in March 2014 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. Rudo was very shy when first introduced to the female pride here in El Paso. The priority on arrival was for him to feel at home, and comfortable with the zookeepers that care for him. Eventually, Rudo and the females bonded well and could be seen together on-exhibit in the Africa section of the zoo. 

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