Phoenix Zoo euthanizes 22-year-old lion due to spine issues

PHOENIX (AP) — A 22-year-old female African lion has been euthanized at the Phoenix Zoo after developing irreversible spine issues.

Zoo officials said the lion named Cookie had “severe, chronic, progressive, irreversible, degenerative changes in her vertebrae and spinal cord leading to significant hind limb muscle loss and weakness that greatly affected her mobility and quality of life.”

The average lifespan of African lions is less than 17 years.

Cookie was transferred to the Phoenix Zoo from the Pittsburgh Zoo in 2005.

Zoo keepers said Cookie will be remembered for loving fresh catnip, playing with papier-mache balls, hunting ducks that landed in her enclosure and lying on her back in the warm sun.

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