Paradise Valley Springs

Goodbye old girl - A tribute to Suzy


May 1986 - 5th June 2009.

Our oldest Lioness Suzy sadly passed away on the 5th of June 2009 aged 23 years.  She was put to sleep by our vet Robin Hopkirk, who has dealt with Suzy all her life.

Suzy was already blind in one eye, and an injury to her other eye rendered her almost completely blind.  Unfortunately, coupled with her ageing body, meant that the humane decision was made to euthanase her.

She was the very first Lion ever born at Paradise Valley Springs, and at 23 years of age was probably the oldest Lion in New Zealand and one of the oldest in Australasia.

Until a few years ago, Suzy was actually in charge of the pride - a job usually left to the dominant male Lion in a pride.  Due to this she commanded a lot of respect from the other members of the pride, and even when she was ailing Suzy was never given grief by any of the other Lions.  This allowed her to live to the age she did in peace.

Suzy had been an excellent mother to many cubs over the years, and even made it to be a great-grandmother.  Of the eight remaining Lions in the pride, her sister Honey who is 21 years old is now the oldest at the park and still pretty sprightly.

The pride gave her a fitting send off with a round of roaring which she joined in with, and another round which she initiated.  It will take a while for the pride to forget her, after all she has played a huge part in all of their lives.  They then spent a while looking for her the following morning.

Suzy was buried at the park, overlooking her pride.


Farewell to Zalika

1st November 2001 - 29th August 2009.

Our seven year old lioness Zalika sadly passed away on the 29th of August 2009 due to an infection after surgery.

Zalika had undergone an operation the week prior to remove several small bones lodged in her intestines.  Unfortunately she developed peritonitis which is a serious infection in the abdominal cavity.  Vets tried numerous things to help her rid the infection, but nothing helped and she eventually passed away peacefully on the operating table.

As she was quite timid, she ranked at the bottom of the pride hierarchy.  Zalika was very intelligent and had a gentle personality.  She still enjoyed being handfed daily, never becoming agressive over her food.  Zalika was still very playful despite her age, and got on well with the younger members of the pride.  The whole pride has been rather quiet since her passing and the two youngest lionesses in particular do seem to miss her. 

Zalika was buried overlooking the pride, appropriately with her twin brother Zak who had passed away two years before due to a stroke.


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Paradise Valley Springs