Wild lions face many threats, like habitat destruction and hunting, and so zoos often claim they offer a safe haven for vulnerable animals.
But the very conditions of captivity can put lions on edge, according to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. "Close confinement of large predators in unnatural conditions can lead to stress and violence with deadly consequences," Roberts told The Dodo.
For Roberts, Saskia's death is emblematic of a larger problem with confining wild animals so humans can get close to them.
"It lays bare the lie of the zoo industry, that keeping wild animals in captivity is safe and advantageous as it alleviates the dangers and pressures of the natural world," Roberts said. "The recent spate of animal escapes, injuries and deaths at zoos across the globe shows that wildlife belongs free in the wild, not in concrete jungles."