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Friday, 15 November, 2002, 19:32 GMT
Zoo's lioness dies of cancer
Jody the lioness
Jody the lioness had been due to leave Edinburgh
One of Edinburgh Zoo's more famous animals, Jody the African lioness, has died after being diagnosed with cancer.

Officials say that after a post mortem examination her body will be offered to a museum for display or teaching purposes.

Jody was 11 and had been in Edinburgh for six years.

She is not going to be replaced by another African Lion because the zoo is to take part in a conservation breeding programme for Asiatic lions, whose population in the wild is described as "critically endangered".


We extend our deepest sympathies to our colleagues at Edinburgh Zoo at this sad time

Iain Valentine
Blackpool Zoo

Jody, has lived alone at Edinburgh Zoo since the death of her mate, Lumpy, in 1998.

She had been due to be moved to join other lions at Blackpool Zoo before Christmas.

Her keeper Alison MacLean said: "For the past four years, since her partner died, we have worked with her very closely and given her special attention.

"We knew that she was going to be leaving us soon to go to Blackpool Zoo but to lose her in this way makes it all the more upsetting and we shall miss her very much."

Veterinary surgeon Gidona Goodman said the lioness was put down because the position and nature of the tumour on her tongue made it "impossible" to operate.

And Blackpool Zoo director Iain Valentine said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to our colleagues at Edinburgh Zoo at this sad time."

Long incubation period

Jody has been at the zoo since 1996 after being transferred from Longleat Safari Park, where she was born.

Lumpy died at the age of 12 from the big cat equivalent of mad cow disease, called feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE).

Jody was isolated from other lions because of the risk of passing on the disease.

This would not have been a problem at Blackpool because the other big cats are all old and FSE has a long incubation period.

Edinburgh Zoo is hoping to receive some Asiatic lions next year which will be housed in a new 300,000 enclosure as part of a conservation breeding programme.

Unlike African lions the Asiatic variety are critically endangered in the wild with only around 350 remaining in the forests of northern India.

See also:

17 Jul 02 | Scotland
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20 Mar 01 | Scotland
17 Dec 00 | Scotland
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