MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Zoo Miami is mourning the loss of a 4-year old lioness named Asha.  What makes this story even more difficult is the lion is the mother of the three-and-half-month old cub K’wasi, the first lion cub successfully exhibited with his mother in Zoo Miami’s history.

According to zoo officials, the lioness died during a procedure Thursday.

Veterinarians said Asha had displayed stiffness and discomfort the past few days and a procedure was performed to try and determine the cause of the issue.  The procedure involved examining her uterus and other internal organs for signs of infection because of a discharge that gave veterinarians cause for concern. However, during the procedure, zoo officials said her heart began to race and her breathing became irregular.

SLIDESHOW: Asha with her three-and-half-month cub at Zoo Miami 

Despite efforts to save her, Asha went into cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated. A necropsy revealed no obvious reasons for her illness or the reason for her fatal reaction to the procedure. More tests are being done, but may take weeks.

Asha was born on January 27, 2010 at the Bronx Zoo in New York and arrived at Zoo Miami in September of 2011 from the Colorado Springs Zoo along with her sister, Kashifa.  The official presentation of K’wasi and his mother to the public earlier this month received international attention and now the loss of Asha makes it that much more heartbreaking.

Zoo staff said measures will be taken to determine the placement of K’wasi with the ultimate goal being to integrate him back into a pride either at Zoo Miami or at another institution.



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