Officials say that a lioness has killed the father of her three cubs in their pen at an Indianapolis zoo.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the zoo said they would be conducting a "thorough review" in an attempt to ascertain what might have led to the incident taking place. Indianapolis zoo wrote;
"Our Zoo family is sad to announce that 10-yr-old male African lion Nyack has died. Earlier this week he was injured during a physical incident with female lion Zuri. We will conduct a thorough review to attempt to understand what may have led to this. Zuri and the other three lions are all ok. Zuri and Nyack had three cubs together three years ago. Nyack was a magnificent lion and he will be greatly missed. We appreciate the support from our community as we cope with the loss."
It is reported that Zuri - the 12-year-old female lion - attacked Nyack - the 10-year-old male - with staff left unable to separate the pair. Nyack is said to have died of suffocation.
Staff said that Zuri was holding Nyack by the neck, and despite their efforts to intervene, she continued to hold on to her partner thus until he stopped breathing. Staff added that they were first alerted to the incident due to an "unusual amount of roaring" emanating from the lion pen.
Zoo curator David Hagan told Reuters;
"[Staff] build strong bonds with the animals so any loss affects us all greatly.
"For a lot of us, it's just like a family member."
A release stated that there are no immediate plans to alter how the zoo's lions are managed. Incidents of lionesses attacking lions are not uncommon in the wild.
"We know many people loved visiting Nyack. He was a magnificent male lion and left his legacy in his three cubs," the zoo said in a statement, while officials added that the two lions had been housed together for eight years. Per staff logs, there had been no previous incidents of aggression between them.