Khartoum (AFP) - One of five sick and malnourished lions held at a park in the Sudanese capital died Monday, an official said, amid a growing online campaign to save the animals.
The lioness received intravenous fluids for several days but died early on Monday, Brigadier Essamelddine Hajjar, a manager of Al-Qureshi Park in Khartoum told AFP.
"One of the two sick lionesses died today... Yesterday the doctor gave the two some medicines after which they were given food," Hajjar said.
"One recovered but the other died. We are now diagnosing the cause of death."
Park officials said the conditions of the five creatures had deteriorated in recent weeks, with some losing almost two-thirds of their body weight.
The five lions suffered from a shortage of food and medicine for weeks, the officials said.
Hajjar told AFP on Sunday that park officials often paid for food for the lions with their own money.
The overall poor condition of the park was also affecting the animals' health, another official at the park said on Sunday.
The park is managed by Khartoum municipality but funded in part by private donors.
Sudan is experiencing a worsening economic crisis, with food prices soaring amid a foreign currency shortage.
An online campaign under the hashtag #SudanAnimalRescue calling to help save the lions has grown over the past few days.
It is unknown how many lions are in Sudan, but a population lives in Dinder National Park on the border with Ethiopia.
African lions are classified as a "vulnerable" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Their population dropped 43 percent between 1993 and 2014, with perhaps only 20,000 left in the wild.