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 have enjoyed your roar and regal presence since you first arrived at the zoo. You sired beautiful cubs which brought me much enjoyment. I will miss you very much.

I'm 23 years old, and have been visiting Lincoln Park Zoo even before I could walk or talk. I still remember when Adelor came to Lincoln Park Zoo, way back when I was in kindergarten. I remember when Adelor fathered his first three cubs in the late 90s, and again a few years later when his other two cubs were born. Hearing his roar sent a tremendous chill down my spine, but every time I heard it, a smile would come across my face and I'd run straight towards his exhibit. One of my favorite encounters with Adelor was a few years ago when some of my out-of-state college friends came to Chicago and I gave them a tour of the zoo. They were very fortunate to hear Adelor's roar, which was made even more impressive in the echoing Lion House. I last saw Adelor during the summer of 2010, and I'm happy to say I took a few photos of him lounging on his favorite rock in the exhibit. You were, are, and always will be a legend, Adelor, and I will remember you for as long as I live. Rest in peace, King of the Zoo.

Dear Adelor, Do you remember when you first came to the zoo and were a little boy with just a bit of mane starting to grow. You and I would play high five at the window. Wherever I put my hand, you would put your paw. We played this game for a long time. It was then that you stole my heart. You have always been beyond special to me--you have always been my little boy. I will miss you, but I will always keep you in my heart. The zoo will never be the same without you. You are loved by many people, but especially by me.

My condolence to all of the keepers who have cared for Adelor all of the years that he was at LPZ. He was the favorite of my grandchildren. The years that I volunteered at main zoo, I would love to watch him and his pride.
He will be missed deeply.

Oh, this makes me so sad. Adelor was a wonderful and ever-so-handsome lion. He brought us all joy. I will always remember running to see him when I heard his distinctive roar. We will miss you, dear simba.

Adelor, you graced the zoo with your presence. I remember when you first arrived at the zoo and how magnificent you looked. You will live on in the hearts and memories of so many of us.

Elaine P.

Dear Adelor

You will always be in my were the first one I would go and see on my weekly visits. You are irreplaceable and will be missed more than words can say. God bless your soul and keep you safe and happy.

All the best to the amazing staff of the Kovler Lion House who poured their hearts and souls into Adelor's comfort and happiness through the years.

Adelor, I saw you devour part of a cow leg down to the bone in about five minutes' time last Saturday. That power, your beautiful mane, your huge paws. It's so sad to see you go.

RIP Adelor...may you be the King of your fields for all eternity. Thank you for being the most majestic of Kings.

My condolences to everyone at LPZ that cared for him, and Myra too.

Thank you for your majesty Adelor, and presence in the world.

It just won't be the same presenting the education carts for the public without Adelor's great presence. I just loved his magnificent roar. Roar on Adelor.

Godspeed.King of the Jungle......

I used to sell balloons for the Zoo when I was a kid, it was my first job. He was there then - and this is going back many years. I loved being at his post and keeping him company. He was always serene.

May he rest well in the African fields of Big Cat Heaven.

May you be running through grassy fields and napping in the sun for eternity <3

This past Saturday my husband and I attended "Breakfast with the Big Cats" and spent quite a bit of time watching Adelor. We won't forget the inimitable roar with which he kept interrupting the curator's talk, making all of us smile. We've been visiting the old boy a long time and will miss him terribly. What a magnificent fellow.

RIP Adelor. You'll be deeply missed.

All zoo guests have been blessed to have visited while you were there. You will be missed and your legacy will live on.

My heart is broken......I love you Adelor.....You were an amazing boy.......I'm going to miss you more than I can say Rest in Peace big boy and know how much you were loved by so many people xoxoxoxo

Thank you so much for the chance to see and hear you're beauty. You were always my favorite I could watch you for hours. Rest and be free.

My trips to the zoo will never be the same.
You will be missed. Farewell old friend.

A grand beast indeed. My heart hurts for the zoo staff and for those who loved this guy. He was so majestic. He will be deeply missed.

I will miss your magnificent bearing and your inimitable roar. Rest in peace, Big Guy!

RIP, lion. The time you roared continuously through a Zoo benefit breakfast in the Cat House was uniquely cool.

We thought of you as our lion...

We will miss you so much. I always looked for you when I visited the zoo.

The last thing I saw you do was roll, head first, into a pile of nutmeg! You've given so many people so many wonderful memories, and in that way you will live on forever.


Dear Adelor, You inspired me to paint again. And for that I will always be grateful. I'll miss you.

My thoughts are with the entire staff, especially the vet who had to make this decision. You all do a great job in caring for all the animals. Roam free Adelor.

What a huge loss to the Zoo, to Myra, and ourselves. Thank you Adelor for making our lives brighter with your presence for 18 years.

During the year I worked for LPZ, and during my many visits to the zoo, i always enjoyed seeing Adelor. this is so sad. he will be missed.

You were a constant reminder of how thankful I am to do what I do and how lucky I am to work at such a wonderful place; thank you for never letting me lose that sense of complete awe and wonder. I will miss you dearly, friend.

We will miss your roars telling everyone goodbye at the end of the day!!

I walk through the zoo almost every day and the lions are the only animals I see almost every day. Adelor, I will miss you. You had such a great roar -- you used to scare our daughter to death when she was little! But you have been looking really creaky lately, so I bet it's a relief to be out of your body and somewhere you can roam free.

Walking the area, amidst the urban splendor of Chicago, and hearing Adelor's roar was one of the most memorable, jarring experiences of living in the city. Unforgettable.

Adelor, you will be missed. When no one else was close, I would quietly talk to you. Soon, you would curl your lip and with a little more conversation, you would soon be roaring at me. Children would run over to see you. It was our secret. Lincoln Park Zoo will miss Adelor, King of the zoo.

Im very sad that Adelor is gone..Im just glad I got to see him one last time during the zoo lights celebration.I do hope you get some company fro his mate very soon...she must be miserable and very depressed.

Best Wishes..I love your zoo.


You will be missed, Adelor. Loved visiting you at Lincoln Park Zoo! You brought smiles to everyone's faces, young and old. You are in a better place now...RIP.

Adelor: Your legacy will live on through the cubs that you sired. I will always remember you as I ride past the zoo each evening. Good-bye dear friend. May you rest in peace.

I am so sad about this. Adelor and the females and the tigers is what the zoo is all about! RIP boy!! Thank you for entertaining us all this time. May you go play around in the heavens with all the other lions. As I write this I am playing the Lion King soundtrack in memory of you. My thoughts and prayers go out to the zookeepers and staff that cared for you as well as your mates. Good bye Adelor! Gone but not forgotten!

Dear Zoo Staff Sorry to hear about ADELOR, He is gone but will live in our hearts I will keep you all in my prayers to help you with the lost of ADELOR

Rest in peace King Adelor. I'm from out of town, and to me you and the Zoo are synonymous with Chicago. I am so grateful that I was able to visit you often. I'll miss hearing you roar.

Dear Adelor Sorry you are gone But while you were here you gave us your beautiful roar every day, we will have the memories you gave us, and all the people who came to see you, Please Adelor rest in heaven and Thank You for the Memories. you will always be in our heart. THANK YOU ADELOR

Dear Adelor, Please rest in peace you gave a lot of people alot of enjoyment with your roar every day and thank you for that , we will all miss you but we all will cherish the memories you gave us, you may be gone but you will always be in our heart, Thank You for your memories

I am saddened to hear about Adelor. My 6yo son enjoys the lion house, we sometimes go just to see the lions and then leave. I remember once being there alone, just him and I, and it being so peaceful and calm. I have heard Adelor roar many times, it was always a suprise to my son. I have quite a few pictures of my son in the lion house. RIP Adelor.

Rip Adelor you had an amazing roar!

You will be greatly missed Adelor. You always made a trip to one of the best zoos even better.

I've seen you since 1996 and could always hear your roar. I was glad to hear you roar one last time this past Saturday.

Enjoy your new throne in Heaven.


I will miss you every time I visit the zoo. I worked for LPZ when you first joined their family and used to visit you every day at lunch. I have never in my life seen a more beautiful lion, you will be greatly missed.

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