Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo lion Lomelok dies after ‘unprecedented surgery,' officials say

Lomelok underwent the surgery back in March, officials said

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Lomelok, a beloved lion at the Lincoln Park Zoo who was born with a spinal birth defect, has died months after undergoing an intensive surgery to try addressing his health issues.

According to officials, the decision was made to euthanize Lomelok on Saturday after a gastrointestinal obstruction was detected, which would have required additional surgery and further isolation from the other cubs in his pride.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support from the community for Lomelok throughout his health journey,” Cassy Kutilek, curator of mammals at the zoo, said. “Lomelok’s name means ‘sweet’ in the Maa language, and that was the best way to describe him.”

According to the zoo, Lomelok had undergone surgery in March to address a herniated disc in his back, with the additional hope of alleviating discomfort stemming from his birth defect.

The zoo said that the lion had continued to show reduced activity levels even after the surgery, though he had grown significantly and had sprouted his adolescent mane.

The lion made headlines along with his brothers Pesho and Sidai when they were born in Jan. 2023. The trio sparked intense interest on social media, and Lomelok was especially well loved because of his easygoing demeanor and his penchant for laying on his back and exposing his belly, according to zoo officials.

Following his death, Pesho, Sidai and Pilipili are all being closely monitored, according to officials at the zoo.

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