Join us in remembering Masai

13th Apr 2023

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Masai, our male African Lion. After a relatively short period displaying illness and undergoing veterinary care, it was sadly clear that Masai was not responding to treatment. Despite the best efforts of our dedicated keeper and vet team, he continued to become more unwell. The difficult decision was made to compassionately put Masai to sleep.

During the post-mortem, the vet team found that Masai had developed tumours on many of his internal organs. This confirmed to our vet team that it was the right decision to put Masai to sleep as he would not have recovered.

The 14-year-old lion was an important member of our Zoo family and will be deeply missed. Masai arrived at the Zoo in 2010 as a young cub and over the years, became the leader of the pride. Masai went on to pair with female lion Arusha, leading to the birth of two male cubs, Kojo and Tau in 2018.


Lion Keeper, Emily De Pasquale Wood explained ‘Masai and Arusha had a close bond, and they were often found near each other in the lion enclosure. He was a firm father with Kojo and Tau and kept them in line. Whilst he was stubborn at times, Masai never showed any aggression towards his keepers. He was a pleasure to care for and we will sorely miss his daily roars at sunset which could be heard across the Zoo!’

Masai has been a firm favourite amongst visitors and staff over the years, helping to educate and inspire visitors about African lion conservation. Masai also helped to promote the work of The Safina Lion Conservation Fund, who raise awareness about the plight of African Lions in the wild and raise funds for critical lion conservation efforts.


Masai was such an iconic and characterful animal and will be remembered by many for a long time to come. Our thoughts are with the keepers who cared for him over the years.

We know that many of our visitors have fond memories of Masai, and we invite you to share your stories and photos with us as we remember his life.

Maze Drone 1

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