Friendship, interrupted

Anthony, the African lion featured in a Nov. 13 story in the Daily Miner, died just days before his second birthday, according to the Keepers of the Wild Animal Sanctuary. Anthony the lion and Riley the coyote gained international fame as an animal odd couple that lived together, sharing a large enclosure at Keepers of the Wild, located on Route 66 northeast of Kingman. The two became bonded as young animals and had been kept together ever since. Keepers and the Kingman Animal Hospital worked diligently to save Anthony's life, but the lion had been born with several medical issues that were the result of inbreeding. He succumbed to intestinal issues and sepsis earlier this month. Keepers hopes that Anthony's story will serve as an example of the importance of preventing inbreeding. Riley, meanwhile, is doing well but misses her friend, the sanctuary reported. A spacious new habitat is being prepared for the coyote and Keepers hopes to find her a suitable companion in the near future. Keepers of the Wild has a website, www.keepersofthewild.org. There is a tribute to Anthony there, as well as a letter from Kingman Animal Hospital.