NewsCovering Colorado


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo mourns passing of 'Grandma Kaya,' 13-year old mountain lion

Kaya the Mountain Lion
Kaya the Mountain Lion and Brother Tocho
Posted at 4:00 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-07 18:20:29-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Monday, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo announced the passing of Kaya, a 13-year-old mountain lion.

The zoo said Kaya lived a long life on Cheyenne Mountain after being orphaned in the wilds of Wyoming in 2006. This past summer, she earned the nickname 'Grandma Kaya' after she embraced the presence of three young kittens who were also orphaned in the wild and came to live at the zoo.

The zoo said Kaya's energy level suddenly changed late last week and she refused to eat or take medication. Veterinary staff performed an examination but Kaya didn't show any specific issues. She was treated for possible dehydration and given medicine to make her more comfortable.

The zoo said that following the treatment, Kaya appeared to have recovered well and she was returned to her den.

Sunday morning, zoo keepers found that Kaya had passed overnight.

Kaya would have turned 14 in November but was blind and had ongoing age-related arthritis, according to the zoo. A recent blood draw also showed signs of early kidney disease. The zoo said this isn't unusual for a cat her age and it is believed she passed of natural causes and general age-related issues.