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Tulsa Zoo Lion Begins Hospice Care

TULSA, Okla. (November 2, 2017) – Kofi, the Tulsa Zoo’s male African lion, has started hospice care for chronic end-stage renal disease. The almost 19-year-old Kofi has been part of the Tulsa Zoo family since 2004.

The zoo’s veterinarians first diagnosed the condition in 2015 during routine preventative health exams. Since Kofi’s diagnosis, the zoo’s animal care staff has taken measures to slow the progression of this degenerative and fatal disease. Kidney failure is a common cause of death in older felids, including domestic house cats.

To help his kidneys function normally for as long as possible, Kofi receives a special diet that includes fat supplements to protect his kidney cells and others to prevent extreme weight loss typical in cats with this chronic disease. Other special portions of Kofi’s diet, such as his favorite whole prey items, are thought to help cats with decreased kidney function.

Tulsa Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff are continuing to monitor Kofi for signs of diminished quality of life. “For now, his appetite and attitude remain normal,” says Tulsa Zoo Director of Animal Health Kay Backues, DVM, DACZM. Once his quality of life has diminished, the decision to humanely euthanize him will be made by the animal care and veterinary staffs who have cared for him throughout this process.

About Kofi
Kofi was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Dec. 26, 1998. He moved to the Tulsa Zoo in 2004. Kofi is known by his zookeepers as intense but goofy and enamored with his own roar. In fact, he roars into the exhibit corners of the den for maximum echo. He spends cool mornings snuggled with Shatari and, despite his deep affection for the lioness, refuses to share bones with her.