Topeka Zoo announces the passing of Avus the Lion


Veterinary staff at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center made the difficult decision to euthanize a 16 year-old African Lion named Avus Friday morning.

“Avus had been experiencing age-related issues for some time.” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “Earlier this week we noticed a significant decline in his well-being. We did a comprehensive exam and tried new medication but did not see an improvement in his condition.

Today is a sad day for our extended zoo family. Avus led an impactful life at our zoo, inspiring guests to care more about wildlife and conservation.”

Avus was born at the Henry Vilas Zoo on October 14, 2004.

Following a recommendation from the AZA’s Species Survival Plan, Avus came to Topeka in the summer of 2006 to pair with lionesses Zuri and Asante.

In 2007 Avus and Asante had one offspring, Adia, who in turn provided the pair with two grandsons that live in other AZA zoos.

Avus was able to see his home at the Topeka Zoo transform with the opening of Camp Cowabunga in 2018.

Zuri and Asante are also classified as geriatric at the ages of sixteen years as well.

In the wild, the lifespan of lions is a range between 12-15 years of age.

Avus was an easy favorite to staff and guests alike.

He had the most amazing eyes and a face framing mane.

He was very laid back and known for pretending he didn’t hear zookeepers when it was time to go inside so he could get a few more minutes of sleep.

Avus enjoyed enrichment like cologne and taco seasoning, and was excited about participating in training sessions.