August 5, 2023

Zoo Community Devastated by the Loss of Kit the Lion


The Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium family has been devastated by the death of our six-year-old male African lion, Kit, on Friday, August 4.

Kit showed visible signs of illness and was taken to the Zoo’s veterinary hospital Friday morning, where an X-ray revealed material blocking his digestive system. The animal care team performed an emergency procedure to remove the blockage, but despite the best medical care, Kit did not survive the surgery.

This has been a difficult week for the staff and community surrounding the Pittsburgh Zoo, as supporters have been mourning the loss of Kovu the red panda, who passed on the evening of Sunday, July 30. The deaths, while tragic in their near timing, are not related.

“The loss of an animal is always heartbreaking, and the loss of two beloved animals so quickly has been hard on everyone. We truly appreciate the outpouring of community support,” said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Kit came to Pittsburgh in 2019 with a pair of female lions, Abana and Scarlett. The magnificent maned male of the pride became an instant favorite with Zoo guests. In July 2020, Kit and Abana welcomed a litter of three cubs, who have since healthily grown and were relocated to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in the summer of 2022. With fewer than 25,000 African lions remaining in the wild, Kit’s legacy will help sustain the future of this vulnerable species.

Abana and Scarlett remain together at the Pittsburgh Zoo and will receive wellness checks from the animal care team. Zoo guests are welcome to share photos and fond memories of Kit on our social media pages.