Remembering Grand Junction’s Zoo + Leo The Lion [PHOTOS]
Up until 1970, Grand Junction's Lincoln Park was home to a zoo inhabited by a variety of animals, including local icon Leo the Lion. Take a moment to remember these former Western Colorado residents.
Leo the Lion came to Grand Junction from a zoo in Salt Lake City when he was just a cub and spent approximately 15 years in Grand Junction.
What became of Leo the Lion? According to an editorial which ran in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on September 13, 1969:
The Kind Is Dead
Lost to Zoo
Leo the Lion is dead.
According to the Daily Sentinel, it was originally believed Leo had a toothache. As it turns out, he was suffering from cancer. Leo the Lion was put to sleep, and buried in a secluded area.
For some time, the zoo was home to a female lion. Unfortunately, the female's name has escaped the memory of most Grand Junction residents.
The zoo was home to several animals including bears, lions, and a monkey or two. You'll no doubt notice a certain sameness when it comes to each animals accommodations.
When one hears the word "zoo" certain images come to mind. One typically pictures images of animals living in conditions somewhat resembling their native habitat: monkeys with trees, lions with rocks to climb, bears with caves, etc.
With no disrespect intended, it seems as if the Lincoln Park Zoo consisted of little more than animals in cages with steel bars, chain link fence, and concrete floors, but that could be the difference in times.