'Matriarch of the pride': Sheba the lion dies from extreme heat at NC rescue

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Sheba the lion (Source: Carolina Tiger Rescue).

PITTSBORO, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Staff at Carolina Tiger Rescue are mourning the loss of one of their beloved female lions.

Sheba, the 17-year-old matriarch of a pride of three lions at the rescue, died after becoming overheated during the recent heatwave, the rescue announced on Facebook Tuesday.

"The staff worked for over 24 hours, including running IV fluids and other supplemental therapies, but her kidney and liver values continued to rise throughout the day," Carolina Tiger Rescue said. "After working for so long to try to bring her back, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to let her go."

Sheba, who came to Carolina Tiger Rescue with two other lions -- Sebastian and Tarzan, will "forever be remembered as the matriarch of the pride."

Staff described Sheba as "the epitome of what it means to be a lion -- strong, confident, and smart."

"Her presence will be greatly missed in the sanctuary, but most especially on Oak Hill."

This story was reported on from Charlotte, N.C.