KUSA - A female lion at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs died Wednesday morning after an altercation with the zoo's male lion.
The zoo says 6-year-old Jamila was in the main yard of the lion exhibit with the male lion, 2-year-old Abuto, and her mother.
A zoo spokesperson says a physical fight broke out between the two younger lions and staff tried to intervene using spray from a fire extinguisher and noise distractions.
Jamila's mother, Angie, was called away from the scene and secured in the lion holding building.
Unfortunately, Jamila and Abuto's fight had already resulted in fatal injuries for Jamila.
Abuto was coaxed into a separate area of the building shortly afterward. He was injured during the fight and will be monitored a veterinary staff.
The zoo says that in the wild, African lions often engage in fights. Female lions test male lions as they attempt to take over a pride, especially if the male is smaller or younger than the females.
"Jamila and Abuto had not had a physical altercation since mid-August," said Tracy Thessing, director of animal collections for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. "The last two times they were together, they did vocalize with one another but did not have any physical altercations. Because they were last seen behaving appropriately, this incident comes as a surprise to us."
Abuto arrived at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in January as part of a cooperative breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
He was specifically chosen to breed with Jamila's two sisters, Lomela and Zwena, because of their genetic compatibility.
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