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 had been a pet sitter in the area for years and as I walked by day after day I would hear the roar and song of an incredible animal bringing me to a different part of the world quite often. I would be transferred to another time and place and my imagination would grow to want to feel a world where these and other incredible creatures would have a permanent place and refuge to be as they were. After we had our daughter I started taking her to the zoo regularly, sometimes two or three times a week. She grew up in the zoo with the animals for the passed 6 years and loved that her name Adelina was similar to Adelor and we checked in everytime we were there. The last time was this passed friday and he was inside resting before mealtime so we said our hellos and felt very humble to be in such a great presence, and just a few feet away. Then when back outside we heard the roars and saw the people rushing over!! He will always command his audience! We are very sorry to hear of his passing and of the loss for our city.

I know that you are in Animal Heaven. We miss you.

I am 25 and my mother took me to the zoo every year growing up and all I wanted to see was Adelor. He was and still is my favorite. I would spend all my time just watching him , no other animal but him. I will miss him dearly . Rest in peace great one. You will not be forgotten.

My condolences to the LPZ staff and especially to Myra.

I've lived directly across the street from LPZ since the about the same time Adelor arrived. After a visit to Kenya in 1998, I started to sleep in my living on the couch or on the floor with the windows open so I could hear him roaring during the middle of the night. Hearing Adelor's roar through the night air was like I was back in Africa...

In the evenings around dusk I would walk past the LPZ front entrance with my dog and listen to Adelor as he re-established lordship over his kingdom with a good-by roar to the last zoo visitors as they departed.

It's now strangely and so sadly quiet. LPZ visitors, the neighborhood and especially his keepers have lost a magnificent and beloved friend.

Adelor - I pray that you're back roaming the tall grass of a sunny savannah as a gentle breeze ruffles through your mane...

I had the privilege of having brunch with him and the other cats at the zoo last Saturday. Little did I know it would be the last meal I would share with him. I made this video obituary in his honor using footage from last weekend. Rest in peace my friend.

condolences to adelor's zoo keepers, past and present....

I miss him so much already. I can't imagine Lincoln Park Zoo without Adelor. All my thoughts are with the keepers at the Lion House. I know it took a greater love to let him go.

Rest in Peace, Adelor, and know that you ruled with dignity and pride and will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace, Adelor. I enjoyed saying hi to you every week on my walks through the zoo before class. Much love to Myra and all of Adelor's keepers that took good care of him for us.

was so sad to hear about adelor being euthanized... i remember when he came to LPZOO as a cub. i can still see "mrs adelor" viewing him as he was named after her husband who had passed away...she was sitting on a chair and he came bounding out of the holding area and ran to the front of his exhibit and hit the wires at the front of the exhibit and bounced back off of the wires...
and he would sit on his haunches and wrap his paws around the center pole at the front of the exhibit and lick the pole....

condolences especially to all the keepers who cared, fed and loved him...

Going right to the Lion House was always our first stop during each and every visit to Lincoln Park, and we always checked on Adelor and Myra before leaving. Hearing Adelor's roar was always the highlight, even if it was as far away as the bird house.
Rest In Peace, Adelor!!! We can hear you roaring from the wide open savanna in the sky!!!

You will most definitely be missed Adelor. I used to come to see you basking in all your glory. I loved hearing you announce your arrival, it echoed so far. My heart is saddened at your passing.

I am so sad at Adelor's passing.

On one of my visits to the Zoo last February and fell in love with him. I watched him for about 20 minutes and took a series of wonderful photos, which I will now cherish even more.

He will surely be missed, my condolences to the staff at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Randy James
I guess most of you didnt know you dont understand my sadness today...which still hasnt left lingers through the night.The photo thats my profile pic right now was taken the day he stole my heart.He was old and in bad health so they turned him loose today. I guess thats better than him being in pain...He was a brilliant soul,life of the party always! He was always the first to arrive at a backyard barbeque..He was my lion.

Randy......most of us did know Adelor...and loved him dearly thats why we are all here and leaving these comments.

RIP - I will miss your roars cheering me on during the Run for the Zoo.

Adelor you are one magnificent creature! May you be in comfort and peace. I will never forget how you stared at my daughter as she rolled around on the ground just outside of your home! She was oblivious as your natural instinct was in high alert, fascinating to behold. What an honor to have the privilege of your presence and how lucky I/we were to see and hear you just last Friday. Zoo visits will not be the same as I turn the corner to look for you relaxed upon your rock. Thank you for bringing such awe and enjoyment to my family's life.

My thoughts go out to the Keepers who inevitablly become so attached to the animals they are entrusted with, may Adelor always remain in yours and all of ours hearts as truely the King of Beasts.

Adelor you will be so greatly missed but your off spring will continue to keep you alive for more years then your body ever could.

My heart goes out to Adelor's keeper and all the LPZ staff. You brightened our days and brang joy to our family on our numerous trips to the zoo. Roam free in your kingdom and I'm sure we shall see you again my handsome guy as i would always call you.

Dear Adelor,
Thanks for all the thrills your regal presence brought to us through the years. Your roars gave us chills and your majestic beauty from the top of the rock will live on in our memories. You were one cool dude!

We liked Adelor a lot. We will miss him. We are thinking of everyone at the zoo and all of the people who visit the zoo.

Good Bye Adelor! We will miss your almighty roar at the end of each visit. Thank you for letting us enjoy your grace and beauty.

Over the years Adelor was one of the reasons we enjoyed coming to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The last time we were there he posed on the rocks for us and let out a wonderful welcome roar. We will greatly miss this big wonderful cat.

My deepest condolences to the staff, Myra, and all those whose lives Adelor touched. He was a magnificent king, and his roar was beautiful. He will be sadly missed. Although the decision was a heartbreaking one, I am grateful the keepers kept such a close eye on him and knew when it was time to compassionately say goodbye. Now he is at peace and will not be suffering. I am happy I was able to see him roar one last time on Saturday. Goodbye old friend...

Condolences to those who looked after Adelor. He was a magnificent lion with a wonderful roar. He will be missed.

I still remember the first time i saw you, i was just 3 years old. every year i would go to the zoo and looked forward to seeing you and hearing your roar echo throughout the zoo. I will always remember you and hold you in my heart <3

Sad to see the old fellow gone. Hopefully the zoo will replace him soon.

My heart goes out to the staff at Lincoln Park Zoo. I know Adelor will be missed but I hope, like me, everyone can take comfort in knowing he is no longer suffering. He will be missed by our family. :(


We all have a destiny, a meaning, a purpose.

You taught all those who entered your kingdom a very important thing.

That nature is beautiful, powerful, gentle, fragile and ultimately mortal.

So many have learned to protect and love nature for all time---because of you!

And as you take your place in the great circle of life, know that we could not have asked for a greater King of the Jungle.

Rest well, my friend.
Your deserve it.


RIP dear one. May you roar in heaven!

Adelor, King of Chicago. The absence of you and your majestic beauty will certainly leave a huge gap in so many of your fans heart. Roam and roar freely for you are now in you forever kingdom.

My husband and I were married in August of 2008 at the cafe across from the lion habitat. I will always remember how Adelor started roaring right as we started to say our vows. It's a moment that everyone who was there still talks about. Thank you for the beautiful memories, Adelor, you will be missed.

My heart goes out to the Lion House keepers and everyone at the Zoo. Adelor was such a strong and charismatic presence, and we will miss him. Even as the tears come, we know that you have done the ultimate act of kindness for an old friend.

There a special place in Heaven for all of God's creatures, R.I.P Adelor. You will be missed put never forgotten.

My favorite memory of Adelor was one day watching him play with his boomer ball only to have it get wedged in a drain. He tried and tried to get that ball unstuck but eventually gave up with a grunt and laid down to take a peaceful nap. Rest in peace beautiful boy.

Rest in peace Dear Adelor. You rekindled my love for nature and I will always cherish meeting you.

Adelor, I knew this day would be coming soon and so was a little nervous when I visited LPZ yesterday and didn't see you. I would stop by the zoo often when driving on LSD just to see you. I can't even image the pain the staff must feel. Roam free wherever you are!

I have fond memories of Adelor and his roar. I feel sorry for the staff that took care of him. RIP and you will be missed.


If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.

Take me where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.

I remember this poem from when I was very young. What a moving tribute to Adelor and to the people who made this final decision. Thanks for printing it.

Thank you Tommy

Wow, what a wonderful poem tribute to Adelor. Rest in eternal painless peace Adelor.

Thank You,

From his keeper

My heart goes out to the Lion staff. Their devotion to their charges is admirable. I knew Adelor most of his life and I will miss his gentle nature (for a lion) and, of course, that amazing roar. My condolences to Myra on her loss.

RIP Adelor. You were always a highlight of my family's visits. You will be missed.

Even before I became a guest relations volunteer for Lincoln Park Zoo, I looked forward to seeing Adelor on every Zoo visit - but in my volunteer role, I came to feel a personal connection with him. My interactions with Zoo guests made it clear that Adelor was a highlight of their visit and one of the Zoo's most shining ambassadors. I'm in tears even as I write - and I can only imagine the sense of loss that the staff who cared for him must be feeling. On the positive side, we can all take pride in the many years that Adelor was part of the Zoo family. RIP my beautiful magnificent feline friend!

Rest In Peace!!! You were a very beautiful Lion.

Ahhh! I remember him! He'd be so majestic on that was like you knew you were entering HIS turf...throw a "growl-out"
to the MGM Lion for me...Grrrrrooowwwwlll, dudes!!

I remember seeing Adelor every day for two summers of interning at the zoo. Seeing him and the cubs were one of the highlights of my day. RIP big friend.

Ahhh! I remember him! He'd be so majestic on that was like you knew you were entering HIS turf...throw a "growl-out"
to the MGM Lion for me...Grrrrrooowwwwlll, dudes!!

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