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Zoo News

Zoo News

5-year-old lioness dies after being bitten
Nov 17, 2013

Zoo staff mourns loss of Johari after sudden attack

 A 5-year-old lioness, Johari, died Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Dallas Zoo after being bitten in the neck by a male lion in her pride.

Five lions lived together in the pride at the zoo. Two males, Denari and Kamaia, are brothers. The three females, Johari, Lina and Josiri, were sisters. All were 5 years old.

Johari was bitten in the neck by one of the male lions about 2:15 p.m. in a sudden attack. She died very quickly, and there were no visible outward signs of trauma. The keepers immediately brought the other four lions off of the exhibit, which remained closed for the rest of the day.

“Johari was a remarkable animal, as are all of our lions,” said Lynn Kramer, D.V.M., vice president of animal operations and welfare at the Dallas Zoo. “This is a very rare and unfortunate occurrence. In my 35 years as a veterinarian in zoos, I’ve never seen this happen.”

Johari was a favorite of the zoo staff, who are heartbroken over the loss. “Jo-Jo,” as the keepers called her, was very playful, always one of the first to find new surprises in the habitat, like pumpkins or watermelons. She was sweet and loving with her sisters, and often could be found grooming them.

She recently celebrated her fifth birthday and was serenaded by nearly 100 guests singing “Happy Birthday” while she enjoyed her frozen cake.

“Johari helped usher in a time of exciting changes at the Dallas Zoo,” said Kramer. “She was part of the grand opening of the Giants of the Savanna in 2010, along with her sisters, Josiri and Lina. She was very smart and often was the first to pick up on new training measures that allowed our veterinarian staff to monitor their health.”

The Dallas Zoo deeply appreciates the outpouring of support it is receiving from the community during this difficult time. Messages may be posted on the zoo’s Facebook page at and will be shared with the entire staff.

The lion habitat is in the Giants of the Savanna area of the zoo. The Serengeti Grill, which has a wall of glass windows that look onto the habitat, is one of the most popular places to see the lions. The two lionesses will be in their habitat tomorrow.


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