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.
53 thoughts on “Prosperity”
What a wonderful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds as though she had many wonderful years with the Cincinnati Zoo. May she live on in your memories.
What a lovely tribute to your beautiful lion, Prosperity! I am saddened by your loss, and send my condolences. I hope the many happy memories you shared will ease your pain until you meet her again.
She and her daughter are BOTH GORGEOUS, and from the look in their eyes, they were very intelligent, too. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to actually see her…what a THRILL that would have been! I am very much saddened to read this. I have lost plenty of animals in my life and the pain was immense, BUT somehow I battled through it by CONSTANTLY reminding myself that they are all waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge, so we and you and the beautiful PROSPERITY will all be together again someday!!I know that really does not help much, but you need to keep reminding yourself of that FACT, and eventually, the pain will fade away and you will think of and remember all of the things you two did together, and how beautiful she was, and then you will finally SMILE AGAIN!! No Doubt, you have many photos of her….Right?! How is her daughter doing without her? I feel bad for her too, as well as for you. I TRULY BELIEVE that ANIMALS ARE ANGELS, and I KNOW they are all gifts from God. May he Bless and comfort you and everyone else who is feeling the loss of this ANGEL….including myself! I am so sorry for your loss. Just keep looking at her photos when you are able. That brings me alot of joy and makes me feel like I am somewhat reconnected to the lost FUR BABY.