A trip to Roseworthy for Adelaide Zoo's African Lion Yizi

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Today, Adelaide Zoo’s female African Lion Yizi will make a special visit to the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus to allow our vets to better investigate a rather hairy situation.

Yizi has developed a partial mane over several months, an unusual phenomenon for a female lion.

“We are fairly confident Yizi’s mane is the result of elevated testosterone levels caused by an enlarged right adrenal gland,” said Dr McLelland, Zoos SA Veterinarian.

“Today’s CT scan will allow us to get a better picture of her adrenal glands and decide on the best course of action to treat the condition. Most likely, we will proceed directly to surgery to remove the right adrenal gland.

“Adrenal gland tumours are not common in big cats and not something we have treated before, but with a team of veterinary specialists on the case, we will ensure the very best outcome for Yizi.

“If our suspicions are correct and we do need to remove Yizi’s right adrenal gland, she will then need further medication until it is certain her other adrenal gland is working normally.

“Yizi is a much-loved member of our zoo family and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure she stays healthy.”

16-year-old Yizi will be sedated before making the trip to the University's School of Animal and Veteriary Sciences at Roseworthy campus in a secure transport box, accompanied by her keepers and the Zoo's veterinary team.

University of Adelaide veterinary surgeon Dr Penny Tisdall has been consulting on the case and will perform any potential procedure, while University of Adelaide veterinary anaesthetist Anthony Nicholson will be in charge of Yizi’s anaesthetic.

Dr Tisdall is a registered specialist surgeon with a particular interest in feline and oncologic and reconstructive surgery.

Dr Nicholson is a specialist veterinary anaesthesiologist and has experience anaesthetising animals ranging from mice to elephants.

“Yizi certainly isn’t our average patient at Roseworthy; it’s always a privilege to work on such a majestic animal,” Dr Nicholson said.

“Together with Dr Tisdall’s surgical expertise and the university’s great veterinary facilities, we will be providing the best possible care for Yizi.”

The procedure will also provide an invaluable learning opportunity for final-year veterinary students, who will be assisting with the anaesthesia and surgery.

Born at Auckland in 2001 and arriving at Adelaide Zoo in 2002, Yizi is one of three African Lions that call Adelaide Zoo home.

We are very sad to report that Yizi passed away after her general anaesthetic yesterday. Our sincere condolences to Yizi's keepers and all at Zoos South Australia. A necropsy is being conducted to investigate the cause of death.


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