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Vic zoo staff mourn loss of elderly lion

AAP logoAAP 29/10/2016 Caitlin Guilfoyle

Staff at a Melbourne zoo are mourning the loss of a beloved elderly lion.

Tombo, a 20-year-old lion who lived at the Werribee Open Range Zoo for more than a decade, was euthanised by vets on Friday after his health declined.

The zoo's general manager of life sciences, Russel Traher, said reduced mobility had started to impact on Tombo's quality of life.

""Our veterinarians only take this option after the most careful consideration, in particular when there is a very obvious decline in quality of life," he said on Sunday.

Tombo was born in Philadelphia Zoo in 1996 and had lived at Werribee since 2004.

He was very close to his twin brother Tonyi, who was put down in December at the age of 19 due to increasingly bad health.

The life expectancy for a male lion in the wild is eight to 10 years.

Vets had monitored Tombo carefully over the last few years and used a variety of treatments to keep him comfortable as he got older, Mr Traher said.

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