LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Denver Zoo announced they humanely euthanized a 3-year-old male African lion that was born at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin.
Sango was having severe seizures for about a week and the animal care and veterinary staff did everything they did for the East Texas lion, the Denver Zoo said.
A medical exam revealed Sango had liver disease, resulting in medical problems that included seizures.
Sango was euthanized on Saturday, April 30, according to a statement from the Denver Zoo.
"This is devastating for us. Our time with Sango was way too short. His condition worsened so quickly and so severely that euthanasia was our only option," said Denver Zoo staff veterinarian Betsy Stringer.
A full necropsy, an animal autopsy, will be conducted by veterinarians at Colorado State University.
The lion was born at the Ellen Trout Zoo on July 28, 2012.
He was raised by Lufkin zookeepers after he was rejected by his mother. Sango was moved to the Denver Zoo in June 2013 as part of a survival plan to find him a suitable female mate.
According to the Denver Zoo, in September 2016, with 3-year-old Neliah, he fathered male and female cubs Kalu and Kamara. Zookeepers said Sango was very playful, but sometimes timid until the cubs were born, which seemed to give him confidence.
"This is truly a tragedy. Sango was adored by staff and delighted guests. He will be dearly missed," said Denver Zoo Vice President for Animal Care and Association of Zoos and Aquariums Lion Species Survival Plan Coordinator Hollie Colahan.
Cards for Sango will be available for guests to sign at the Denver Zoo's Benson Predator Ridge exhibit.