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Beloved 17-year-old lion dies from overheating at North Carolina animal sanctuary during scorching heatwave

Sheba, the lioness, suffered from liver and kidney damage as temperatures touched 100°F, according to the Carolina Tiger Rescue, in Pittsboro
UPDATED JUL 25, 2019

PITTSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA: A lioness reportedly died of 'overheating' at a North Carolina sanctuary as a result of last week's heatwave.

The lioness, Sheba, had suffered from liver and kidney damage as temperatures touched 100°F, according to the Carolina Tiger Rescue, in Pittsboro. 

Staff members at the sanctuary reacted quickly and spent 24 hours trying to save the 17-year-old lioness. They had provided her with IV fluids and other supplemental therapies but were unable to revive the animal.

On its website, the nonprofit sanctuary says that they work to protect big cats in the wild as well in captivity.

They also say that they take in animals which have been confiscated, abandoned or need a new home.

Sheba had been brought to the sanctuary from Texas. 

Sheba the lioness died due to 'overheating' at a North Carolina Sanctuary (Facebook)

"Not only did they respond quickly and professionally when things were critical, they kept going long after the sun had set and were back ready for more when things had not improved," Carolina Tiger Rescue shared.

They added that the lioness had died due to 'overheating'. 

According to an earlier Facebook post by the group, Sheba had been used in a cub-petting practice where cubs are snatched at birth to be handled by humans for monetary gain.

Post her death, the sanctuary released a statement, "Sheba will forever be remembered as the matriarch of the pride of three that came to us from Texas. She always kept Sebastian and Tarzan in line and was the first to work out new enrichment items." 

Sebastian and Tarzan were the other lions at the center.

"She walked the perimeter, stood on her hind feet and looked at the roof, and sniffed every corner. Sheba will also stand out to me as the epitome of what it means to be a lion – strong, confident, and smart. Her presence will be greatly missed in the sanctuary, but most especially on Oak Hill," the statement continued.