DALLAS — The Dallas Zoo said a female lion died Sunday after it was attacked by another lion.
The attack was witnessed by guests at the zoo.
In a tweet, the zoo said workers were "heartbroken" over the attack that killed the animal known as Johari, and urged others to send good wishes to the staff.
A zoo executive said that in his 30 years of experience working at the Dallas Zoo and similar facilities elsewhere, he has never seen or heard a story about one cat in captivity killing another.
The lions are part of the zoo's Giants of the Savanna exhibit in a section called Predator Rock, featuring five lions — two males and three females. Zookeepers said one of the males was responsible for the attack.
"The male lion that started it just had his mouth over her throat, and everybody thought they were just playing at first, but then we could see that she was struggling and she finally quit moving," said a zoo guest who witnessed the attack. "She finally quit moving and she looked completely lifeless, and he started dragging her around and she was just completely limp."
The lion exhibit was immediately closed to visitors pending an investigation into what happened.
Johari's body was removed and the two male lions were placed in separate enclosures.