A 12-year-old lioness killed the father of its three cubs in an unprovoked attack in the outdoor yard of Indianapolis Zoo on Oct 15, multiple reports said citing a news release from the facility.
The incident has baffled zoo officials and workers as 10-year-old Nyack and Zuri had been co-existing without any incident for the past eight years.
Last Monday, zoo staff were surprised by continuous roaring from the lion enclosure. They rushed to the enclosure and saw the African lion and Zuri locked in a one-to-one battle.
The staff tried to separate the two but Zuri kept holding on to Nyack by the neck until the lion died of suffocation.
The incident happened before the zoo was opened to public.
Lion expert Craig Packer told The Washington Post Nyack was too meek for a lion and Zuri was too aggressive for a lioness. He also found it quite strange that Zuri dominated Nyack for eight years.
Monday was a bad day for Zuri. Her domineering and aggressive nature blinded the lioness as she fatally attacked her mate of eight years.
As Nyack and Zuri fought, their 3-year-old daughter Sukari was standing near them. Zoo staff said Nyack did not do any harm to Sukari to provoke Zuri.
Zoo authorities have no plans to move Zuri to another facility.
For many zoo visitors, the friendly and playful Nyack was a big attraction. Many came to the park early morning just to hear him roar.
Nyack had arrived in the Indianapolis zoo from the San Diego zoo.