Lioness kills father of her three cubs in their enclosure at Indianapolis Zoo

A lioness has killed the father of her three cubs at a US zoo.

The lioness, 12-year-old Zuri, attacked 10-year-old Nyack in their pen at Indianapolis Zoo, officials said.

Staff at the zoo were unable to separate the two lions and he died of suffocation.

The lions had lived in the same enclosure for eight years and had three cubs together in 2015.

In a Facebook post, Indianapolis Zoo said: “Our Zoo family is sad to announce that 10-yr-old male African lion Nyack has died.

The Indianapolis Zoo’s lioness named Zuri, pictured, attacked the lion in their enclosure (Picture: Reuters)

“Earlier this week he was injured during a physical incident with female lion Zuri.

“We will conduct a thorough review to attempt to understand what may have led to this.

“Zuri and the other three lions are all OK. Zuri and Nyack had three cubs together three years ago.

“Nyack was a magnificent lion and he will be greatly missed. We appreciate the support from our community as we cope with the loss.”

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Staff were alerted to the attack by “an unusual amount of roaring” coming from the enclosure, the zoo said in a statement.

A spoeskeperson  said Zuri was holding Nyack by the neck and continued to do so until he stopped moving, despite the efforts of staff to free him from her grip.

The zoo said there had never been any noticeable aggression between the pair in the past.

Indianapolis Zoo curator David Hagan said staff there “build strong bonds with the animals so any loss affects us all greatly”.

He added: “For a lot of us, it’s just like a family member.”