Denver Zoo euthanizes cancer-stricken lion Natal

DENVER - The Denver Zoo on Monday decided to euthanize a cancer-stricken South African lion named Natal.

Natal, who would have been 16 in August, arrived in Denver in the spring of 2004. She became the surrogate mother of an orphaned lion cub named Asali in 2005. Natal also gave birth to a cub named Kazi on Oct. 25, 2006.

"Biopsies conducted last week showed Natal had a tumor in her breast and cancer throughout her body," the Zoo said. "The tumor, a common one found in older female cats, was large and had invaded the lymphatic ducts around the mammary gland. Test results also showed cancer in the spleen."

The Zoo decided to euthanize the lion after she became lethargic and stopped eating.

"This type of cancer is very aggressive and is not responsive to most treatments. Unfortunately, there was no course of treatment that could make her better. As she continued to decline, the humane decision was to euthanize her," said Staff Veterinarian Betsy Stringer in a statement provided by the zoo.

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