The SF Zoo’s lion pride is slightly diminished this week, after the passing of their eldest male lion, Tunya.

According to Barbara J King, Tunya arrived at the Zoo from a breeding facility in South Africa in 1997. The Chron says that a contest to name the 3-month-old Tunya generated over 1000 entries.

The Chron reported on (the pictures are pretty great) a back surgery Tunya underwent to repair a pinched nerve in 2002.

“On a typical day,” the paper reported, Tunya ate “8 pounds of horsemeat for dinner” and “has sex 20 times a day.”

According to the SF Zoo’s Facebook page, Tunya “had been dealing with several health-related issues for a long period of time which progressed rapidly in the last few weeks of his life,” and was euthanized on January 23, just three days shy of what would have been his 15th birthday.

“Tunya and his recognizable roar will be greatly missed,” the Zoo said.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Lorraine Hudgins

    sad to hear of this… I did an ethological study on this guy back in 1999