On March 4th, “Kashifa,” Zoo Miami’s 11 year old lioness, was noted to have suddenly lost her mobility in her hind legs while on exhibit. The veterinary team was able to immobilize her and perform baseline diagnostics immediately and did not find an obvious cause for her paraplegia. Within 48 hours, she underwent an MRI to further evaluate her spine and nerve function, and was determined to have sustained a non-compressive injury to her spinal cord.

Sadly, after nearly 3 weeks of intensive care from the Animal Health and Animal Science teams, Kashifa did not show any improvement in her condition and was not able to feel any deep pain or other sensation in her hind quarters. After a great deal of consultation and dedicated efforts to provide Kashifa with every possible path to recovery, it was determined that she had sustained a non-recoverable injury and the painfully difficult decision was made to euthanize her.

Kashifa, who was born at the Bronx Zoo in 2010, won the hearts of countless zoo visitors when she gave birth to a litter of 4 cubs in 2014 at Zoo Miami. Not only was she a great mother to her 4 cubs, she also adopted the orphaned cub of her sister and not only raised him successfully, but often gave him special attention as if she realized the trauma he had been through losing his own mother. K’wasi has since moved on to Lion Country Safari where he has fathered cubs of his own.

Zoo Miami feels privileged to have been the home to this majestic cat and to have seen her cubs grow into beautiful adults themselves. They will be her legacy. We are all profoundly saddened by the loss of this magnificent animal.

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