In my long career as a zookeeper, I have had to say goodbye to many animals that I have loved. As I write this tribute to Prosperity, I am surprised by the realization of how much she captured my heart with her sweet and gentle soul. It is only fitting though, as throughout our time together, she has never ceased to amaze me and prove me wrong at every turn.
Prosperity was a very special lion from the very start. She was born on Christmas Day in Las Vegas, Nevada in the care of the famous entertainers, Siegfried and Roy. Her inexperienced mother failed to care for her, so she was hand raised by Roy Horn himself, along with his staff of animal caregivers and trainers.
Although Roy loved her very much, he realized early on that Prosperity should not stay in Las Vegas, as there were no cubs for her to grow up with there at that time. It was decided that she should come to the Cincinnati Zoo to be raised with our young males, Sunshine and Future.
Prosperity began her life in the limelight of Las Vegas and would be brought out on stage in a limousine. She was used to a very privileged life and came to us on her own private jet and was fed from a silver platter. Because of this, I had my doubts about her assimilating to a lifestyle in a zoo. But she got along just fine and grew to love our boys.
As the lions grew together, they became inseparable. Prosperity would go on to breed with Sunshine and gave birth to four cubs. Again, she surprised me by being a truly wonderful mother to her little cubs. 3 males and a female. The males would go on to live at the Toledo Zoo and her daughter, Gracious, remains here today.
Prosperity always rolled with the changes with a calm reserve and was the most wonderful lion. She holds the distinction of being named the official mascot of the U.S. Senate, where the most powerful lawmakers are known as lions. Her companions, Sunshine and Future, passed on years ago, as well as her three sons in Toledo. And now, at the age of 22 years, it is time to say goodbye. We will miss you, our most special of lions, you have been the best lion anyone could have hoped for. I am most honored to have gotten to take care of you these many years.
Farewell, my beautiful lion. May you have a special spot in Heaven that is most fitting for the Queen that you are.