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Fort Wayne Children's Zoo lion passes away

Photo provided
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Bahati was humanely euthanized this week after a brief bout with cancer.

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has said goodbye to male African lion Bahati.

In a statement, Dr. Kami Fox said Bahati was diagnosed with thymic cancer last week, after having a loss of appetite. Despite palliative care, the giant cat rapidly declined and was humanely euthanized, surrounded by his care team.

Dr. Fox is the director of animal health and conservation at the zoo, and in the statement from zoo officials remembers the lion arriving as an awkward adolescent without a mane.

Bahati has been with the zoo since 2016, having come from the Racine Zoological Gardens, and a beloved member of African Journey.

The zoo’s Executive Director Rick Schuiteman said the lion loved greeting guests and children often cheered “Look” when seeing Bahati.

Director of Animal Care Michelle Smurl said the Fort Wayne community was able to connect with Bahati in special and meaningful ways over the years, and he enriched the lives of all at the zoo and in the area.

Bahati roars for guests.mp4

Zoo officials invite the community to share memories and comments about the lion on the organization’s Facebook page.

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.