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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo experienced an irreplaceable loss Friday, May 27, 2011, when Elson, the zoo's 16-year-old male African lion, passed away. Elson was receiving end of life care, and at the time of his death, was under anesthesia for treatment of a dental infection. It was during the procedure that Elson's heart stopped. Typical life expectancy of African lions in captivity is 14 to 20 years. Elson's legacy is two-fold. He contributed critical founder genetics to the North American Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) through his 13 cubs and at least seven grandcubs. These descendents live at Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities all across the U.S., including Abilene, Bronx, Pueblo, San Francisco, Minot, Tulsa, Akron, Baltimore, Birmingham, and here in Colorado Springs.
June 2nd, 2011
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