It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you of a beloved Columbus Zoo lion’s passing. Tomo, the African lion, passed away this morning at the age of 15. He was being treated by our veterinary staff for age-related issues, but unfortunately his quality of life recently declined rapidly and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize him, said the Zoo in a release.
Tomo was known for sticking his tongue out while he relaxed, which became known as his signature “blep.”
Tomo came to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 2006 from the San Diego Zoo. Since his arrival, Tomo fathered three litters, including the most recent two litters that totaled six surviving cubs born in 2015. Tomo was also a grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of five.
The African lion population has decreased dramatically over the past two decades. Within the last five years alone, the Columbus Zoo has provided approximately $130,000 in support of African lion conservation projects.
You will be greatly missed, Tomo. May you rest in peace.