The 13-year-old lion was not only a tourist favorite, but also, a research animal. The beloved lion was being studied by the Oxford University Conservation Unit.
Before last Friday, Minamisanriku was a lively port at the heart of the mountainous Miyagi prefecture, with a population of about 17,000. But the earthquake struck just 80km from the town, and the resulting tsunami devastated the town, leaving much of the population unaccounted for.
We get the latest from the BBC’s Rachel Harvey.