Franklin Park Zoo Puts Down Christopher the Lion

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We are deeply saddened to share that Christopher the lion has died. Over the past two years, the 21-year-old lion was being closely monitored and treated for several irreversible, age-related issues. These included declining kidney function, chronic cystic disease of the liver, and arthritis. Due to his continued declining health in recent weeks, the zoo staff made the decision to humanely euthanize him for quality of life reasons. As he continued to age, his dedicated zookeepers continued to utilize the well-established training programs at the Zoo. This played an integral role in assisting the veterinary and animal management staffs in closely monitoring his health, and developing and carefully refining treatment plans. The median life expectancy for lions in captivity is 16.8 years. At age 21, Christopher was among the oldest lions within the North American captive population. He will be greatly missed. Visit to read the full press release.

A photo posted by Zoo New England (@zoonewengland) on

While Franklin Park Zoo isn't in Jamaica Plain, it's close. And if you've visited the zoo in the last 15 years, odds are you were treated to an encounter with Christopher the Lion.

Zookeepers euthanized the male lion on Thursday. They report he was 21, quite old for a lion in captivity, and suffering from a variety of maladies including declining kidney function.

Here's a short video of Christopher roaring, taken just over two years ago:

For more on Christopher's life and the reasons for him being put down, please visit the Franklin Park Zoo Web site.