Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Zoo Mourns Lion, Falala

August 19, 2016

Des Moines (August 19, 2016) – Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo announced today the death of its elderly female lion Falala. The decision to humanely euthanize her was made after her quality of life diminished. She was 19 years old.

“Falala's playful spirit and fierce sense of family was inspirational,” said Bonnie VanEllen, animal supervisor. “She was a wild lion at heart and will be missed dearly.”

Falala was born in 1997 and came to Blank Park Zoo in 1999 when the Zoo opened the Tom & Jo Ghrist Great Cats exhibit.

“This is a sad time for the Zoo family, but considering her age related health issues we knew this was near,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of Blank Park Zoo.

According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, wild lion populations are down significantly, only 30,000 remain. Median life expectancy for a lion in captivity that lives to at least a year is 16.8 years.

The Zoo will be working to bring in a couple of female lions to start a breeding program. Deuce the male lion remains on exhibit.

For pictures and video:

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open every day from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission rates are $13 for an adult, $8 for a child (3-12 years), and $11 for a senior. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.


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