Press Room

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Zoo's Oldest Lion Passes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (January 9, 2013) – The Little Rock Zoo is sad to announce the passing of Nyla, a 20-year-old lion living at the Zoo since 2000.             

Zoo staff report that Nyla passed in the evening and was discovered early this morning. At the age of 20, Nyla outlived many of her Zoo counterparts as well as her counterparts in the wild.             

Nyla came to the Little Rock Zoo in 2000 along with her companion Sydney, another female lion.  The two have lived at the Zoo since 2000 and began sharing their exhibit with Bakari, a male lion acquired by the Zoo in 2009.  

Both Nyla and Sydney were former pets that were donated to the Dickerson Park Zoo by a private owner. They were then donated to the Little Rock Zoo by Dickerson Park in 2000. Both have declawed front paws and filed-down incisors, a common practice of the pet trade.

Zoo staff say that Nyla liked playing with her toys and especially liked batting around a large ball in her yard.  Nyla’s distinguishing physical characteristic was her brown nose.

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information, visit