Apollo the African lion, one of the favorite animal attractions at the Riverside Discovery Center Zoo in Scottsbluff has passed away. The 20-year old male died from cancer and age-related kidney disease.
Apollo had been receiving medical treatment for various age-related ailments for several years.
Apollo was born in 2000 at the Erie Zoo in Erie, PA, and came to Scottsbluff a year later with his brother Zeus, who passed away in 2015 from heart complications.
Riverside Discovery Center Executive Director Antony Mason says the average lifespan of a lion in the wild is 12-15 years and that it is very common for many feline species to develop kidney issues as they get older.
Mason says Apollo “had an outsized personality that made him a favorite of many,” both visitors and staff, adding that Apollo “was an incredible gift while we had him and will be missed.”
Mason says long-term plans call for bringing in new lions as availability allows, based on recommendations from the species survival plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
In the near-term, Nika, a female Amur tiger, will move into Apollo’s old compound while Ussuri, a male Amur tiger, will remain in the current tiger exhibit.