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Philadelphia Zoo’s Elderly Lion Euthanized After Falling Ill

(The main entrance of the Philadelphia Zoo, at 33rd Street and Girard Avenue in West Philadelphia.  File photo)

(The main entrance of the Philadelphia Zoo, at 33rd Street and Girard Avenue in West Philadelphia. File photo)

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An elderly lion has been euthanized at the Philadelphia Zoo after falling ill.

The zoo says the lion, named Merlin, had fathered 11 cubs and enjoyed a long life in captivity. Officials said Thursday that his health had declined rapidly and he was euthanized Sunday after he refused to eat.

Merlin was born in July 1991 at the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa. Officials say he was brought to Philadelphia two years later along with three female lions, Vinkel, Jezebel, and Zenda.

The females, all 21 years old, will remain together as a lioness pride. The zoo also has two young lions, a male and a female, that arrived more than a year ago.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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