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'It is never easy to say goodbye': Zoo Boise lion Mudiwa euthanized

Mudiwa, a 22-year-old female lion, was euthanized due to declining health, including kidney cancer that had spread.
Credit: Boise Parks and Recreation
Mudiwa, a 22-year-old female lion at Zoo Boise, died by euthanasia Tuesday, July 26, 2022, due to declining health. Kidney cancer had spread to other parts of her body.

BOISE, Idaho — Mudiwa, a female lion at Zoo Boise, has died at the age of 22, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department announced Wednesday morning.

The lion was euthanized Tuesday morning due to declining health, Boise Parks and Rec said in a news release. Results of tests conducted after Mudiwa's death confirm she was suffering from kidney cancer that had metastasized to her intestines, liver and lungs. Mudiwa lived five years longer than the average life expectancy for lions under human care.

The zoo's animal care and veterinary staff conducted a series of exams over the past six months, after noticing that Mudiwa had begun to lose weight and experienced dramatic fluctuations in appetite. Results of bloodwork showed the lion's kidney values were increasing, indicating protein buildup that her kidneys couldn't clear out correctly.

To help maintain Mudiwa's quality of life, zoo staff provided her with antacids, pain-reduction medication and medication intended to help reduce the amount of protein secreted in her urine. To encourage the lion to increase her food and fluid intake, staff provided ice blocks, chicken broth, milk and easy-to-digest food like liver.

The decision to euthanize Mudiwa was made after her physical health, food and fluid intake, and desire to move "drastically declined" over the past week, according to Boise Parks and Rec.

“This is a hard situation for all of our staff, volunteers and visitors,” Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock said. “It is never easy to say goodbye to one of our beloved animals. There is no doubt Mudiwa’s presence in Boise has made a strong impression and her legacy will live on.”

Mudiwa arrived at Zoo Boise in 2008, along with her sister, Obadiah, and a male lion, Jabari. The trio were the first lions for Zoo Boise, which is still home to a 9-year-old male lion named Revan.

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