Fota Wildlife Park has announced the death of one of its Asiatic lions, Shanto, after a "short, untreatable illness".
Ten-year-old Shanto was the only male lion at the wildlife park and had arrived from Santillana Zoo in Spain in 2016 where he joined sisters Gita and Gira who arrived from Helsinki Zoo in Finland earlier the same year as part of an Ex-situ Programme (EEP) for this species in European zoological institutions.
Shanto sired a number of offspring at Fota Wildlife Park, which have since become part of the EEP at other zoological intuitions in Europe.
This morning, Fota Wildlife Park confirmed that Shanto was put to sleep on Wednesday, February 23 after a short illness.
“Despite every attempt by the veterinary team, his condition deteriorated, and the very difficult decision was made to put him to sleep. The diagnosis of kidney failure was confirmed at post mortem,” a statement from the Park said.
Julien Fonteneau, Lead Ranger said that Shanto was hugely popular with visitors.
“It is hard to describe how stunned and shocked the team are here at Fota over the loss of our beloved Shanto. It’s been devasting to witness such a powerful and dignified animal succumb to illness in a short space of time. He was hugely popular with the visitors and undoubtedly was a highlight of their visit. Shanto was very interactive and curious, and Fota Wildlife Park has been such a quiet place since he became ill. We all hugely miss his majestic roars every day, and it’s such a quieter place without him.”
According to Fota Wildlife Park, there are an estimated 674 Asiatic lions existing in the wild, living in the Indian state of Gujarat, Western India.
This small population is steadily increasing but the species is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).