On June 20th, Rolling Hills Zoo said a tearful good-bye to Simba, one of the two African lions who were original residents of the Zoo. Born in captivity in March 1997, Simba and Motomba arrived at Rolling Hills Zoo in the spring of 1998 as young cubs, and have been zoo favorites ever since. Their first place of residence at RHZ was in the Main Barn. In 2000 they were moved to their current exhibit in the Zoo. Since then they have been greeting visitors with their powerful roars and huffing as they marked their territory, which is Rolling Hills Zoo. This past April, Simba and Motomba (brothers at birth) celebrated their nineteen birthday with guests of the Zoo.
In the wild, male lions seldom live longer than 10 to 14 years, as injuries sustained from continual fighting with rival males greatly reduce their longevity. The median age for male lions in captivity is 16 years old. “Simba’s health had been declining over the last few months,” shared Brenda Gunder, General Curator. “Old age just eventually caught up with him. We made him as comfortable as possible in his final hours before he said good-bye.”