Kibonge, the oldest lion at the Uganda Wildlife Education centre (UWEC), died on Friday last week after a long illness and was laid to rest this week.
The 18-year-old lion was one of the treasured animals at UWEC. Ms Jennifer Nandutu and Mr Nicholas Muhindo, his caretakers who could not hold back their feelings, described Kibonge’s passing as a big blow to the animal kingdom at the conservation centre.
“As his health worsened, Kibonge laboured to breath, could not comfortably turn himself given the pain from sores all over his body,” Ms. Nandutu said.
Describing Kibonge, UWEC’s spokesperson, Belinda Atim, said he was a calm lion and a fighter. “For the last four years his health has been degenerating due to old age. But he fought on. He collapsed in the exhibit on Monday and still fought for life till Friday,” she added.
Kibonge leaves behind two widows, Zara and Biza and two daughters.
According to Wikipedia, the lifespan of a lion ranges about 14 to 15 years. A lion can live for more than 15 to 20 years in captivity while in wild; it lives for 10 to 14 years.