Adelor, a lion who at full roar interrupted countless toasts and speeches at fancy black tie dinners and wedding receptions held inside Lincoln Park Zoo’s elegant, vaulted old Lion House, was silenced forever this week when ill health forced veterinarians to euthanize the 18-year-old male.
Zoo officials said Adelor had been suffering several geriatric-related health problems recently. He had been living at Lincoln Park since 1995. The father of five cubs since arriving there, he cut a regal figure with his ample mane.
“He would often be seen lying on the top of the large boulders of the exhibit where he could survey his territory and monitor his pride,” said Mark Kamhout, zoological manager.
“Guests of all ages would flock to the lion exhibit when Adelor began roaring as he announced his territory several times a day. He was a wonderful leader of the pride and was very protective and affectionate of the females under his care.”
The zoo often rents out spaces in the zoo for special events during evening hours, attracting family and corporate gatherings. The lion house, an architectural gem and one of the oldest buildings at the zoo, is a particularly popular space.
Adelor often parked himself prominently on a rock to view proceedings and would add to the merriment by roaring loudly, often during speeches and toasts.
His death leaves just one African lion at the zoo, Myra, a 15-year-old female. Zoo officials said it is working with a national consortium of zoos to locate likely candidates that it could bring to Lincoln Park to take up residence with Myra.
African lions are native to the southern Sahara Desert down to southern Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest region. Wild populations are classified as vulnerable, with numbers declining due to habitat loss throughout Africa.