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Rombach7 is blind and he can’t sit for long without pain, so he paces close enough for his whiskers to brush the Lexan plate. Rilke meets generation loss. Visitors can’t hear it, but he’s actually a mutant–he purrs.

The zoo’s exchange chief is in negotiations with Bombay for a breeding pair of lions from a much more successful pool, once the habitat’s freed up. 7’s the last splice from the original Rombach stock, and his caretakers don’t consider him viable for stud, much less a remaster. No more Rombachs.

The gift shop plushies, now, those they can sell forever.