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The Honolulu Zoo is saddened to report the loss today of Ethel Louise and Samantha, its two female African lions.  These sisters, who were nearly 23 years old, were humanely euthanized due to multiple health problems associated with advanced age.


Ethel and Samantha were born on April 3rd, 1986 at the Wild Wilderness Zoo in Gentry, Arkansas. The Honolulu Zoo purchased these animals from the Pittsburgh Zoo and they arrived in Honolulu on  July 28, 1997.  Ethel and Samantha were prime exhibit attractions at the Honolulu Zoo for the last 11 and  a half years. Apollo, a male lion who shared the exhibit with Ethel and Samantha, died Aug 7, 2007.  Apollo was 21 years old at his death.


Zoo officials are expecting to obtain a male lion within the next month from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and he should go on exhibit shortly thereafter.  The Zoo is also working to obtain female lions as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which the Honolulu Zoo is an accredited member.


It is currently estimated that the wild population of African lions has decreased dramatically over the last twenty years.  Lions in the wild number approximately 25,000, compared to over 200,000 in the early 1980ís. 


For more information on what the Honolulu Zoo and the Lion Species Survival Plan is doing to restore the lion population, visit