Chaos the Lion
Chaos is a 16-year-old lion who made headlines In 2019 when he underwent radiation therapy in a hospital for humans, treatment which he received for two cancerous lesions.
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 tumor on the nose and the fact that the lion is not easy to handle, excision of the tumor was not possible,” according to lead wildlife veterinarian Dr Katja Koeppel who diagnosed this and decided on the treatment. The decision was made in consultation with Prof Gerhard Steenkamp, another experienced veterinarian, to try radiation therapy. The 570 lb 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 cost his owners more than $4000.
For Matty,it was heart-rending to see the lion she regarded 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 were optimistic that the radiation would be successful. Unfortunately, although Chaos was subsequently carefully monitored, he has since died.