Lion cub at Lincoln Park Zoo put down after medical complications

An African lion cub at Lincoln Park Zoo was put down Saturday, months after undergoing spinal surgery.

Zoo officials announced Lomelok, the 1-year-old cub, underwent euthanasia after suffering another medical setback in his recovery. 

"When he recently presented with a gastrointenstinal obstruction that would require another intense surgery and long recovery in isolation, the difficult decision was made to pursue euthanasia and say goodbye," the zoo said in a statement.

Lomelok had been recovering from an operation he had in March for a herniated disc in his spine. Zoo officials said despite weeks of progress and physical therapy, Lomelok "was not on the path to recover to the full life of a young lion cub."

Lomelok suffered from a spinal birth defect that challenged his mobility. Lomelok was survived by his pride of brothers, Pesho, Sidai and Pilipili.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support from the community for Lomelok throughout his health journey," Curator of Mammals Cassy Kutilek said in a statement. "Lomelok’s name means ‘sweet’ in the Maa language, and that was the best way to describe him. There are no words to articulate how deeply he will be missed." 

Lomelok, a one-year-old lion cub at the Lincoln Park Zoo. (Christopher Bijalba/Lincoln Park Zoo)