Erin, Detroit Zoo's oldest lion, is euthanized after health declines

The Detroit News

Erin, the Detroit Zoo's oldest lion, has died, officials announced this week.

The female lion was euthanized Wednesday following "continued decline in her mobility and condition," the zoo said in a statement on Twitter. 

"Estimated to be 20 years old, Erin lived much longer than wild lions typically do," they said. "She showed signs of advanced age for several years, and animal care staff monitored her closely to ensure her comfort and well-being."

Erin, the Detroit Zoo's oldest lion who was euthanized Wednesday, lived much longer than wild lions typically do, staff said.

Erin was the oldest in the Royal Oak zoo's lion pride.

She arrived there in 2009 after being rescued from a Kansas junkyard, officials said.

"In her prime, Erin was a spunky cat who loved a good run in the yard, and she was an amazing companion to Simba," said Betsie Meister, associated curator of mammals.  "You could often find her on the heated rock or lounging in the sunshine."

According to the website, Simba was once owned by the royal family of Qatar and arrived at the Detroit Zoo in October 2012. He had also been rescued, the zoo tweeted Thursday.

Erin "will be greatly missed by staff, volunteers, members and guests," the zoo said. 

Her death came weeks after the zoo euthanized Ta-Shi, a 16-year-old female red panda who was in declining health, officials said.