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.



You will be greatly missed Adelor. Thanks for all the great memories that we will cherish forever.

My family and had the pleasure of seeing Adelore several
times when visiting my daughter and her family there when
we came up from Texas.
My daughter has his beautiful picture hanging in her home
that was painted of him several years ago,
Adelore, you will be missed by all!

Thank you for your kind comment. Adelor is indeed still missed.

My sympathies on the loss of Adelor.
I too remember his roar throughout the day.
Majestic Soul, rest and be free.
Wakan Tanan Kici Un Igmu Tanka Adelor
Lakota translation is: May the Great Spirit Bless you Big Lion Adelor

adelor was the highlight of my morning runs through the zoo.

travel safely and rest in peace, friend.

Adelor, I watched you "grow up" throughout the years as we visited the zoo every month with my young daughters, also now grown. We loved watching you sleep, roar, and be the King of the zoo. We loved watching your cubs interact with you. You will be missed. I hope you're somewhere in the big blue sky free and healthy, with no bars to restrict you anymore.

Thank you, noble Adelor, for being such a wonderful presence at the zoo. We always loved seeing you and hearing your powerful roar. You will be greatly missed.

So long, King of the Pride. It's selfish to wish you were still here but where you're at the grass is tall and green, the air is clean, the prey is plenty and you're with your family and life is good!

Rest in peace, Adelor. You will never be forgotten.


That is beautiful. Good Job, you got talent girl.

Love you Adelor. I'll miss you. Thank you for the many happy memories.

An important and loved part of the zoo - and of Chicago - has left us.

So very sad to read of Adelor's passing. I have every faith that it was the hardest & kindest decision. My thoughts are with the entire staff at Lincoln Park Zoo. I remember Adelor back when I was in high school & though his physique changed over the years, his pride never diminished. It was a true honor to have been in his presence. RIP King Adelor

It will be so hard not to head right for you when I get to the zoo.

Our deepest condolences to zoo staff and patrons on the passing of Adelor. He was majestic in every sense of the word and will be deeply missed by all.

As a former docent for 6 years, I loved watching Adelore and hearing him roar and delight the visitors. His presence in the zoo was felt by all and loved by all.

My favorite memory of him was from my wedding. We had our reception in the Lion House in 2005. During the DJ announcing the bridal party, Adelore roared each time the DJ announced (or tried to announce our names). He was very much a part of our wedding and the zoo keepers and I figured that he just "knew" it was a Docent getting married!

RIP beautiful old guy and may your memories live on for many of us. To the staff at the Zoo and to Myra - my deepest sympathies on this loss.

Adelor was always the first animal I would see going to the zoo as I live near by.
I'll always remember him on the rock and roaring with the pride that was instilled in him.
Rest in peace dear Adelor.

Always one of the highlights to my trips to the zoo. We'll miss you Adelor. :(

We will miss you so much, Great KIng.
We hope you are frolicking with your ancestors now, looking forward to the day
when your kind is no longer endangered.

Your mate will mourn your loss, and so we do too.

I will never forget your roar, nor will I ever forget how you made mornings at the zoo peaceful.

You brightened so many of my mornings Mr. Adelor. Your presence in the city will be greatly missed.

We'll miss you Adelor. Thanks for inspiring zoo visitors for all those years.

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