With the deepest regret, we, The Big Cat Sanctuary, announce the passing of Manzi the lion, head of our lion pride.
Affectionately known by keepers as either ‘Manzi Moo’ or ‘Big Man’, Manzi, along with his two brothers, Tiny and Kafara, were born on 29th August 2003 at Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire. The trio were only 19 days old when their mother was unable to care for them and they were taken on by the team at Paradise Wildlife Park. At just shy of two years old, the boys moved to The Big Cat Sanctuary.
This tight-knit trio lived together for many years, wowing guests as the only lions at the Sanctuary for a long time. As they matured, tensions began to build between the boys, and the decision was made to keep Manzi separated from his two brothers permanently, but they lived beside each other for many years. In March of 2017, it became time for Manzi to begin the next chapter of his life by joining our six white lionesses as their new pride leader. This is not a job for just any lion, six feisty females are by no means a pushover. After moving to his new home in the white lion house, it was only the following day that Manzi decided to make his presence known in no uncertain terms. He bellowed his incredible roar throughout the entire lion house, reverberating the sound against the walls of the building, amplifying it even further. Manzi had moved in and was going to let his new neighbours know who was in charge.
Recently our keepers observed changes in Manzi’s behaviour and lethargy alongside signs of changes in the prides dynamic. After being seen by vet, Dr. John Lewis, a large lump in his abdomen was found, thought to be a greatly enlarged spleen caused by lymphoma. When all the options were considered for Manzi, it was decided to keep him comfortable for as long as we were able and when we could no longer do this it would be time to say goodbye. A big lion with an even bigger personality, Manzi will leave a huge void for a long time to come for anyone who knew him. He will be so missed.
Going forward every effort will be made to ensure the lionesses of the pride remain calm, the Cat team are taking extra precautions and providing extra care and enrichment to help with the adjustment.
Manzi was an incredible ambassador for his wild cousins, there is now an estimated population of 23 – 39,000 and have been listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Endangered Species List since 2014.
Goodnight Big Man!