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#AceBreakingNews – Billabong Zoo, visitors devastated over death of treasured 7-year-old African ‘lion king’ Milo
Workers at a zoo in regional New South Wales have been left devastated as visitors pay tribute following the death of much-loved African “lion king” Milo.
Billabong Zoo in Port Macquarie announced Milo’s passing in a statement on social media, prompting hundreds of reactions from locals and visitors.
“Our beautiful lion king crossed the rainbow bridge … due to complications following surgery,” a spokesperson said.
The zoo said Milo underwent abdominal surgery in 2020 and was later diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition, feline gastrointestinal eosinophilic sclerosing fibroplasia.
“It is an exceptionally rare condition, even in domestic cats, and Milo was the only known lion that vets and specialists were aware of with this disease,” the zoo said in a statement.
Milo’s condition continued to deteriorate and following another recent surgery Milo went into cardiac arrest on May 25 and could not be saved, the zoo said.
Ali Provost, who has done work placement at the zoo and has since been a regular visitor, said she “had a few tears” when she heard the news.
“Out of all the zoo animals he was mine and my husband’s favourite,” Ms Provost said.
“I have nice memories of watching the keepers train them and provide enrichment too. It’s amazing to see them move and act almost like a regular house cat at times but of course they are so different.”
Ms Provost said she hoped fellow lion Misty finds peace without her companion Milo.
“She is a beautiful lion and I feel for her for losing her mate and best friend.”Billabong Zoo has described Milo and Misty as “best friends” and “ambassadors for their species”. (Supplied: Billabong Zoo)none
‘Best friend and lifelong mate’
Billabong Zoo staff said they have since focused their attention on fellow lion Misty, who joined the zoo with Milo from Africa in 2016, “as she grieves the loss of her best friend and lifelong mate”.
“Currently Misty is finding comfort in having a keeper beside her den, day and night,” the zoo’s statement read.
Milo and Misty have four offspring who remain at the zoo and in the coming months staff will begin reintroducing Misty to them so she can choose a new companion.
“She has always had a special connection with Amari and Zoraya, so we anticipate these two will probably be Misty’s chosen companions,” the zoo said.
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