KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The mother of a 4-week-old lion cub at Zoo Knoxville fatally injured the cub while recovering from anesthesia, zoo officials said in a press release.

On July 14, the mother, Amara, was being treated for acute renal deficiency, which required sedation. Since the birth of the cub on June 16, Amara had been through multiple sedations for treatments and had always been protective of her cub. Sadly, during this last procedure, she injured her cub and immediate intervention by the veterinary team was unable to save the cub.

(Zoo Knoxville)

“This is a devastating and heartbreaking loss.  It was the request of her keepers that she be named ‘Zuri’, which is Swahili for ‘beautiful’, and that is how we will remember her.  Life can be fragile and fleeting, and while this is a reality of our profession, it doesn’t make us immune from the pain of losing an animal.  We are grateful for the sympathy and support of our community and colleagues,” said Lisa New, Zoo Knoxville’s President and CEO.

Amara is being monitored for signs of distress or grief and is still receiving care for her ongoing kidney issues. At last report, she was recovering from anesthesia and resting comfortably. She is planning to be reunited with her male companion, Upepo, as long as her health remains stable.