Kamaia, a sick lion at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, received blood from brother to help doctors determine cause of health issues
The circle of life is taking place at Franklin Park Zoo.
Kamaia, a 14-year-old lion that zoo officials say is “severely anemic,” received blood from his brother, Dinari, during a transfusion done Friday to help determine the cause of his ongoing health issues.
Part of the 3-hour procedure included doctors removing Kamaia’s spleen, which zoo officials determined to be “massively enlarged — at least twice the size it should be.”
“We are hopeful that he will be feeling better very soon. This was a major surgery, and we will continue to monitor him closely to ensure that he is comfortable and recovering well,” said Dr. Chris Bonar, Zoo New England’s director of animal health.
Dinari, also 14, on Thursday underwent a procedure to help his sick brother. The zoo’s veterinary team drew blood from Dinari to see if it was a match with Kamaia.
“Blood transfusions are not often performed in zoological settings because it can difficult to find a suitable donor,” Bonar said. “Because Kamaia and his brother were littermates, Dinari was the perfect donor for this much-needed transfusion.”
Doctors found nothing “abnormal” during the surgery beyond Kamaia’s enlarged spleen, and officials expect to receive results in a week from the samples of his spleen.
Kamaia, who has lived at Franklin Park with his brother since 2015, fought through pneumonia earlier this spring, and comprehensive diagnostic tests came up inconclusive of any underlying health issues, according to officials.
Kamaia’s care team will continue closely monitoring him for the next few weeks as he’s expected to remain in his off-exhibit space while he recovers.
“We have been so touched by the tremendous outpouring of support for the lion brothers and our incredible team who works so hard to care for them,” said John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England.