The very unfortunate news was shared on the Birmingham Zoo's Facebook page Tuesday morning. Beloved African lioness Akili has passed away.

The lioness was injured while being introduced to the male lion Josh.

According to the Facebook post, Akili sustained injuries only a few minutes into the introduction.

“Animal introductions are always risky because wild animals can be unpredictable and we cannot control their interactions,” explains Hollie Colahan, Birmingham Zoo’s Deputy Director and coordinator of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Lion SSP.

Lion roaring, standing amidst the natural environment of the forest.
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The deceased lion was born in 2005 at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and came to the Birmingham Zoo in 2007 to live with African Lion Kwanza, and in 2011 they had 5 cubs.

Kwanza passed away in 2021.

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Josh was identified as a new male companion for Akili.

Introductions began with Akili after Josh's April arrival.

Lion looking straight into the camera.
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“The loss of an animal is always sad but when it is sudden and unexpected, that makes it particularly difficult,” said Chris Pfefferkorn, Birmingham Zoo President, and CEO. “Please keep the amazing team and everyone that worked with Akili in your thoughts as there are no words that can ease the pain of such a spontaneous loss. We are thankful that so many in the community had a chance to see and experience Akili, she was a great ambassador for her wild counterparts.”

For more information on the passing of Akili, visit the Birmingham Zoo Facebook page. 

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