Chaos the lion

Chaos is a 16-year-old lion who made headlines In 2019. It is believed that he is first Lion to undergo radiation treatment at Meulmed, a human hospital, in Pretoria,South Africa, for two cancerous lesions on his nose. Rescued as a cub and hand-reared by Mattie and Eddie van Eck of Lory Park Zoo outside Johannesburg,

Chaos was diagnosed with a rare squamous cell carcinoma on his nose and flank. “Due to the location of the tumour on the nose and the fact that the lion is not easy to handle, excision of the tumour was not possible,” says lead wildlife veterinarian Dr Katja Koeppel. The 260kg cat was darted, transported to Pretoria, and then wheeled into Mediclinic Muelmed on a metal gurney like a human patient for four weekly treatments that have cost his owners more than $4000.

For Matty, it’s been heart-rending to see the lion she regards as her ‘son’, undergo this trauma. “It feels like thunder in my chest;” she says, “because every time we put him under, there’s a chance he won’t wake up.” But doctors are optimistic that the radiation has been successful, although Chaos will be monitored and must have sunscreen applied to his nose with an extended applicator every day. Chaos has lived his whole life at a zoo and was a pet in the early years of his life. The healing process was described as positive.

Chaos has since died.

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