GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - Shelia, the African Lioness who has been a favorite in the Pioneer Village at Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden, has died. She was 17.
An announcement on the Noccalula Falls Park and Campground Facebook page says she had been sick for several weeks.
"Staff members have worked with an exceptional veterinary team to handle a serious health issue, but unfortunately, over the last few weeks we have seen her illness progress," the statement said. The statement says her ashes will be returned to the park.
Known as "the Queen of the Falls," Shelia came to the park in 2002 and lived in her own large, double fenced enclosure near the park's petting zoo. She was a favorite in that section of the park, and people who live near the park say they could often hear her roars at night.
Park supervisor Christina Richardson says the park bought her at an animal auction in 2002 in Hanceville after a woman attempted to keep her in her house. Shelia was four months old at the time.
"We invite the public to leave flowers at her enclosure at the park as well as share photos and memories of her on our Facebook page," said the statement.
The park’s Facebook page says there are no plans to replace Shelia with another lion.