It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our 19-year-old African lioness, Ulana, who lived at Potter Park Zoo for over a decade. For the last year and a half Ulana has been under treatment for spinal disease but in the recent weeks, her condition worsened despite treatment. The Animal Care Team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her Thursday, Nov. 30.
“Animal care and veterinary teams worked together for the last year and half to give Ulana the best life possible despite her spinal disease. Unfortunately, her condition declined, and the zoo staff did not want her to suffer,” said Dr. Ronan Eustace, Director of Animal Health at Potter Park Zoo. A complete necropsy will be performed in the coming weeks.
“Ulana was not just a lioness; she was family. As her keeper, witnessing her strength and grace was a privilege. While we navigate this loss, our commitment to all of the animals in our care remains unwavering, and we appreciate the support and understanding of our community during this challenging time,” said Annie Marcum, Carnivore and Primate Area Lead Keeper.
Her longevity, surpassing the median life expectancy of 16.9 years for lions, is a testament to the exceptional care she received. Ulana, a symbol of strength and grace, held a special place in the Potter Park Zoo community. With her commanding presence, she became an icon, leaving a lasting mark on the hearts of visitors and staff alike.