Lion dies at zoo in Des Moines

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A female lion has died at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines.

Gavivi the lion was easily recognized by some Blank Park Zoo visitors because she was missing part of her tail.

Gavivi was diagnosed in 2012 with an aggressive type of mammary cancer.  She remained active longer than expected, but zoo officials said her quality of life had suddenly diminished so they made the decision to euthanize her.

“She was a very loving creature that will be missed dearly,” said animal supervisor Bonnie VanEllen.

A statement from the zoo said when it lives to be at least a year old, the median life expectancy for a lion in captivity is 16.8 years.  Gavivi was 16 years old.

Blank Park Zoo CEO Mark Vukovich said there are plans to bring a female lion of breeding age to the zoo.