Adelor Memorial

Lincoln Park Zoo Bids Sad Farewell to King of Urban Jungle

Adelor the African lion euthanized today

(Chicago, Feb. 1, 2012) -- Lincoln Park Zoo is saddened to report on Feb. 1 that animal care staff made the difficult decision to euthanize Adelor, a geriatric male African lion due to progressively deteriorating health and quality of life. 

Adelor was 18 years old and lived at the zoo since 1995. Over the years he fathered five cubs. Guests of the zoo often remarked that seeing him was a highlight of their visit.   

“He would often be seen lying on the top of the large boulders of the exhibit where he could survey his territory and monitor his pride,” said Mark Kamhout, zoological manager. “Guests of all ages would flock to the lion exhibit when Adelor began roaring as he announced his territory several times a day. He was a wonderful leader of the pride and was very protective and affectionate of the females under his care.” 

The median life expectancy for lions (assuming the individual survives the first year of life, a particularly risky time for most mammals) is approximately 14 years. The maximum longevity recorded is 26 years. 

Adelor was one of many geriatric animals living at Lincoln Park Zoo. With advances in veterinary medicine, nutrition, husbandry techniques and exhibitry, animals are living longer in zoos and aquariums around the nation. As a result, managers and care takers develop new ways to address the unique needs of geriatric animals.

Fifteen-year-old female lioness, Myra, is the sole remaining African lion at Lincoln Park. The zoo is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Lion Species Survival Plan to identify another lion, or lions, which can be brought here to accompany Myra. No firm plans have yet been determined.  

African lions are native to the southern Sahara Desert down to southern Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest region. Wild populations are classified as vulnerable, with numbers declining due to habitat loss throughout Africa.

Lincoln Park Zoo is helping conserve the species through the Serengeti Health Initiative, a program dedicated to studying the Serengeti ecosystem and working to eradicate diseases like rabies and distemper that impact wild lion populations there.  

Adelor was a beloved individual and ambassador for his wild brethren. The Lincoln Park Zoo family is saddened by his loss. A memorial page has been set up in his honor. Adelor fans and friends of the zoo are welcome to leave comments, share memories, or express condolences to animal care staff who are especially affected by his loss.

If you are interested donating to the Adelor Memorial Fund as a tribute to the zoo's beloved lion, please click here.

All proceeds will benefit female African lion Myra and other geriatric cats at Lincoln Park Zoo.



I just learned that Adelor passed. I spend a lot of time with his boy at the NC ZOO and his grand kids. I have hundreds of photos on my facebook page, sad to hear.

Thanks for the note, Sal. We miss Adelor as well, although we have some consolation in welcoming new male lion Sahar to the Kovler Lion House.

Today me and my sons found out that Adelor had passed away, he was a magical animal, my sons and I would love to come to the zoo early on a Saturday morning to see him out, hoping for a roar. We will miss him.

I visited the Lincoln Park Zoo once. And I remember being amazed when I heard a lion's roar. I don't even remember where I was when I heard it but I had to go see him once I did. It had to be Adelor. It was sometime in the earlier 2000's. It's a memorably experience hearing a male lion roar. Incredible even. Just having heard it once was enough to bring a tear to my eye at the news of his passing.

I am in the process of collecting contributions for a memorial bronze statue of Adelor. I will contribute matching funds for contributions of $500 or more. If you are interested or know someone who is interested, please contact me at

I visited the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first time last summer. I immediately fell in love with many of its inhabitants, including Adelor. It was big bone day for the large cats and he was feeling particularly territorial that day. My husband and I watched Adelor and Myra for quite some time while they were in their indoor habitat. He was circling his prized bone when all of a sudden he stopped and let out a mighty roar. I had never heard a lion roar in real life and I must say I was quite impressed. I was delighted to be able to capture this on video and I will look back on it fondly. He was a beautiful and majestic animal and I am sad to hear of his passing. Even I could see that Adelor was an "old man" with his wise, and mostly white mane. Adelor's legacy will live on in the memories of his admirers. I wish the zoo nothing but luck in introducing their new lion Sahar.

After reading all these beautiful tributes to Adelor, I am convinced that there would be a huge interest in setting up a fund or finding a benefactor to engage a sculptor to create a bronze of a golden Adelor on his golden rock. It could be placed outside the lion house where people could admire him and pat his golden nose. Thoughts, anyone!

Looks like your dream of a bronze golden Adelor has at last come true!

This sounds like a lovely idea and a beautiful way to memorialize Adelor

When I was at the zoo yesterday I felt very sad to see the lone lioness. She was walking around and roaring and kept looking all around the habitat. I wondered if she was looking for her mate. Our family have been LPZ members almost 40 years, and seeing the lions, especially, Adelor, has always been a highlight of our visit.

My sister and her husband were residents of the Belden-Stratford Hotel some years ago. When I was visiting her apartment one summer day, we heard the "natural alarm clock" in the morning from the Lincoln Park Zoo, the great lion roaring in the morning. WOW. He'll be remembered for many years.

Chicago and Lincoln Park Zoo will never be the same because we have lost our very own Lion King, Adelor.
Others will come to try to take your place, but you, Adelor, were unique. Majestic, kind, intelligent, strong, brave, attractive and endearing, you had your own personal charm and distinguished personality. No lion roared quite like you and at the best possible moments. too! You were a great dad and a caring mate. I pray that somewhere in the Lord's magnificent universe He has saved a wonderful place for all of His creatures. I pray that you are there now, enjoying your freedom and living in eternal peace and contentment. I will miss you. Chicago will miss you, dear friend. Thank you for gracing us with your royal presence. Be happy. We are all the better for having the chance to admire you and we thank you for allowing that for so many years.

I will always remember the thrill of hearing your roar as I wandered past or through the LPZ.

Imagine a grown man getting amped up by the King of the Urban Jungle... that was me.

I know that it was difficult for your caretakers to make such a difficult decision, so my thoughts are with them as well.

Farewell, old friend...

To all of those at LPZ who have made Adelar the King Of Chicago...thank you for taking such good care of that lovely creature. He has been a majestic sight to all who have come to our fair city to visit. He will be missed-we are saddened by his passing.

I grew up going to see adelor every weekend And as I got older I would walk home from working downtown in the summer and stop by for a hello. Adelor always brought peace and joy to my day. I will miss him and his beautiful lion face. And now and then having him roar to say hello..

This is my 3rd attempt to write a sympathic note to all the LPZ caretakers, Myra, and all the visitors who have shared sentiment here. We will miss Adelor, his roar and his majestic stance while greeting all of us. Thank you Adelor for being in our lives. Your memories keep us strong. We will visit and watch Myra--you will too!

Adelor was the BEST! I so loved seeing him and his female companion. What an inspiring animal he was and will continue to be. I'm so thankful to have taken many pictures of him and will cherish them and the memory. Thank you to all who cared for him. Realize how much he meant to all of us who visited the zoo. I will miss Adelor. He did have a great roar!

I remember when you joined the zoo family in 1995 and you have always been my favorite at the zoo. I will miss you Adelor!

I am so sad to read about this. I just loved hearing him roar, and you could hear that roar throughout the zoo. My deepest condolences to his caregivers and zoo. I will truly miss you.

One of my favorite times at the zoo was when Adelor & Myra had the cubs. They were fun to watch, and Adelor was on top of the rocks looking down like a proud father and king!

One other time I was in the building with a few others when Adelor let out a roar. Before long, I noticed the building was filling up with people who heard the roar. It always amazed me how much attention the large cats receive, especially when one of them lets out a roar like Adelor did! I know I always go through and visit the various cats when I visit the zoo.

I hope Myra is doing well and will receive some company. I will miss Adelor a lot.


There was another female lion in the pride, Helene, who passed away due to cancer in 2010.

The King is gone but his legacy will live on. Rest in peace, Adelor. I know how hard it is for the zookeepers to make the decision to let him go, our prayers are with you.

Melody and June

you will be missed my friend ! he lived a good long life. ROAR

We brought our 2-year old granddaughter to Lincoln Park Zoo today. We have come often to the zoo the past two years. We live far away and did not know of Adelor's passing. We visited everywhere at the zoo and then went to see our favorite house of Big Cats and searched for Adelor. It was the cats who were sad and indicated something was wrong. Then we saw the memorial flowers left on the rocks and knew. I think that all the animals miss him and his roar. I'm glad to find this memorial website. It will help explain to our granddaughter. I am glad the zoo is considering friends for Myra. We will miss Adelor very much.

I was at the zoo the day Adelor's predecessor, Anthony, died, and I cried. Now I've shed more tears because beautiful Adelor is gone. He was really The Lion King.

RIP, Prince Adelor -- you will be sorely missed!

For the last several days I have tried to think of what to write about Adelor, but haven’t been able to come up with anything that adequately expresses my sense of loss. I knew Adelor from the time he came to us until he left and watched him grow in beauty and confidence. His dignity and strength were evident to everyone who saw him, and I am grateful to have had the privilege of knowing him. My deepest gratitude to those who cared for him throughout his life and who cared enough not to let him suffer, just so we wouldn’t have to say goodbye. I love you, Adelor, and will never forget you. My heart goes out to Myra, who must miss you terribly, and I wish her a companion soon to help ease her loneliness.

We are so saddened to hear of Adelor's passing. Our young daughter is such a huge fan of her lion friends at Lincoln Park Zoo that one of her first 'words' was "ROAR" to mimic the Adelor's roar. Our thanks to Adelor for the wonderful gifts he gave us with each visit and our condolences to his caring staff who made it possible for us to appreciate his greatness.

We had the great joy of seeing Adelor and Myra in September of 2010. We were so excited to have had the experience. They were lying side by side asleep when he woke up for a brief time, stretched and lied back down next to her and went back to sleep. We speak of them often and were so saddened by the news of his passing. Please extend our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to Myra and to the humans who care for them.

You were so beautiful and brought us so much joy over the years. It will be hard to go back there without you.
Thank you for all the great are missed so much already!! Live young and free in animal heaven we love you!! xoxo's

I was extremely saddened to hear of the loss of Adelor. On two zoo visits I enjoyed watching him wake from an afternoon nap from on top of his boulder and then got to hear him roaring for everyone around. The last time I was there, Myra was right by his side as they were napping on one of the last days of summer. I will certainly miss not seeing him at the zoo and I hope that a companion will be found for Myra soon. My condolences go out to all of the zoo staff and anyone else who was touched by the greatest of Adelor.

Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent walking through the Lincoln Park Zoo with my first child bubbling with excitement to see the "po bears, mommy!!" (AND the seals AND the lions..... : ) ) and then, later, with all 3 of my children piled up in the stroller.

Many, many happy hours were spent in the shadow of Adelor and his fellow animals. We visited Adelor by his window and were awestruck by his and his mate's roars which literally shook the air. Now that we no longer live in Chicago I am struck by what a treasure Lincoln Park Zoo is.

Adelor and the LPZ will forever be part of my happiest memories of Chicago and hopefully part of the foundation of kindness and hope which I strive to encourage in my children. Thank you, thank you to you, LPZ and to you, dear, majestic Adelor.

Adelor - I love you and will miss you. You were my favorite animal at the zoo. When I go to the zoo I will miss seeing you very much. I have been a zoo member since I was born. On my first visit to the zoo, you were the first animal I saw.

I used to see him as a baby. And hear him roar. The zoo seals, Lions and "po bears" will be my memorys. I am 7 now and I live in Atlanta and won't forget Chicago.

Adelor, you will be missed. You were always visited when I came to the zoo. It will not be the same without you. My condolences to your caretakers, who had to make such a difficult, but compassionate decision. It is a sad day for all of us.

I will never forget the first time my then 2 year old Hailey heard your voice Adelor. Today she is now 7 and everytime we came into the city even if it was a quick visit we always had to stop by and say hi.

Hailey would stand for hours waiting to hear you while I patiently sat reading a book and once your words were spoken she would ok we can go now. Lots of tears have been shed and all of the pictures we have taken over the years are hanging by her bed so please know that you and all who took care of you will never be forgetton in our house.

I will never forget the first time my then 2 year old Hailey heard your voice Adelor. Today she is now 7 and everytime we came into the city even if it was a quick visit we always had to stop by and say hi.

Hailey would stand for hours waiting to hear you while I patiently sat reading a book and once your words were spoken she would ok we can go now. Lots of tears have been shed and all of the pictures we have taken over the years are hanging by her bed so please know that you and all who took care of you will never be forgetton in our house.

I will never forget the first time my then 2 year old Hailey heard your voice Adelor. Today she is now 7 and everytime we came into the city even if it was a quick visit we always had to stop by and say hi.

Hailey would stand for hours waiting to hear you while I patiently sat reading a book and once your words were spoken she would ok we can go now. Lots of tears have been shed and all of the pictures we have taken over the years are hanging by her bed so please know that you and all who took care of you will never be forgetton in our house.

So sad to lose such a majestic animal anytime but specifically in the urban jungle here where we all came to hear his roar and expect to see him on top of the boulders. He will be missed.

What a very special treat you gave to all of Chicago, Adelor. Thank you and thanks to your wonderful and caring keepers. You will be missed by all who had the pleasure of coming to this wonderful respite in the heart of Chicago and seeing your majestic self.

Fare thee well Adelor please say hello to Holly Noel and Fredgrr my much beloved kitties. Now you aan keep them company rest in peace gentle giant kitty.

Adelor you'll be missed greatly on our daily strolls through the zoo.
But with every new roar we'll be remembering you.

I'm so glad I got to really know you at the Breakfast with the Big Cats 1/28/12. You're comments during the presentation were a delight to hear. I'm so happy that you were able to lead a long life at Lincoln Park Zoo. You will be missed.

I will miss Adelor very much. I run a bootcamp class around LPZ and we often set-up in front of the lions. For 3 years now, all of us have felt very connected to the lions and have enjoyed many early mornings hearing Myra and Adelor roar. Both lions have watched us back and "participated"...for instance, running when we run!

Besides my bootcamp class, I take my girls to LPZ frequently and we always remain in front of the lions for long periods. My oldest daughter is obsessed with big cats!

I just want to say, "thank you" for all of the wonderful memories. On Thursday, we worked out in front of Myra and each one of us said our goodbyes and shed a few tears.....

So you killed him when he got too old and harder to care for? Deteriorating health? Not your job (or mine, or anyone's for that matter) to pull the plug on anything. Shame on you. Proves that even the "free zoo" will make unethical decisions based solely on money. Shouldn't have kept him in the first place if you weren't in it for the entire trip.

What a horrible thing to suggest that his caretakers just simply "killed him." It was not simple or easy and they did not "kill him." A few years ago I had to euthanize my cat that I had had since I was a little girl. She was suffering and nothing more could be done to make her comfortable or improve her quality of life and it took me a long time to accept that and I know she probably suffered longer than she should have. Its never an easy decision - its the hardest and most painful thing I have ever had to do. However, in the end I knew I was doing the right thing - she could finally be at peace. I know Adelor's care takers did not make their decision lightly - I'm sure they agonized over it for a long time, but in the end they did what was in the best interest of him. He wasn't too old or expensive to care for and how dare you suggest that be their reasoning. He was sick and in pain and we just need to leave it alone. Adelor was a beautiful animal who will be greatly missed. Shame on anyone who would dare to suggest such cruelty from the zoo caretakers. Have some respect.

You have an extreme lack of knowledge regarding the death of Adelor. Kidney failure in cats of advanced age can lead to a painful life and death. The zoo staff did the right thing for Adelor because they loved him enough to keep him from suffering anymore. I strongly suggest that you learn more about the facts before you ever post again.

Anonymous, you are completely wrong! It had to be a very difficult decision for the zoo staff to make. Every person or animal can live with a certain amount of pain if they are otherwise being cared for, but there comes a time when that pain becomes or has the potential to become too great and a person who truly cares for an animal will not let that happen. You would not allow your dog or cat to suffer like that. The zoo did not "kill him," they put him to rest ... and out of his misery.

Shame on YOU!!! What qualifies you to make such negative judgements of the animal caregivers at the zoo. I know personally that they form very close, loving, caring bonds with their animals and are devistated when one of their charges becomes sick.They do everything they can to fix a medical issue or to keep an animal comfortable.When nothing else can be done, the very difficult decision of euthanasia has to be made. You would rather have the animal die a slow and painful death? This is such an insult to the loving people who give their lives to help these animals. I am totally disgusted by your comments!! I see you were too embarrassed to leave your name, as you should be.

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