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updated: 6/7/2013 7:37 AM

Northern Indiana animal sanctuary mourns death of lioness

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Associated Press

ALBION, Ind. (AP) -- Staffers of a northern Indiana animal sanctuary are mourning the death of a lion that had lived there for nearly two decades.

Black Pine Animal Sanctuary director Lori Gagen says the lioness named Nala was euthanized Wednesday after an examination found cancer had spread throughout her body.

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Nala was 19 years old and had lived at the sanctuary near the Noble County town of Albion since she was about 6 months old. Gagen tells The Journal Gazette that a northwestern Indiana couple was trying to raise her as a family pet and she was set to be euthanized as the couple divorced until a judge contacted the sanctuary.

Gagen says Nala was the matriarch of Black Pine and was among its first animals.

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