Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has announced the passing of the Zoo’s female African lion.

Riverbanks’ veterinary staff made the decision to euthanize 16-year-old Brynn on February 10, because of her sudden decline in health. The Median Life Expectancy of African lions in AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) managed populations is 16.8 years.

“Brynn was being treated for loss of appetite, but her condition severely worsened over the last few weeks,” said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “Brynn lived a long and healthy life because of the incredible care she received over the course of her life.”

Brynn arrived at Riverbanks in May of 2002 from the Knoxville Zoo as part of the AZA’s African Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP). For nearly 36 years, SSP’s have helped ensure the continued existence of endangered animals through breeding and transfer plans among AZA-accredited institutions.

In June of 2008, Brynn gave birth to one male and three female cubs. Chuma lives at the Greenville Zoo while his sisters, Jasiri-Congaree, Johari and Lina, were transferred to the Dallas Zoo in March 2010.

Riverbanks is now working with the African lion SSP to find a suitable companion for the Zoo’s 12-year-old male lion, Zuri. The Zoo also is awaiting necropsy results. Final results usually take six to eight weeks.