A lioness ‘died almost instantly’ after being attacked by another lion in front of terrified guests at a safari park on New Year’s Day.
Longleat Safari Park said caregivers were unable to save the lion from its injuries after what it described as a rare but natural event.
Park confirmed that the incident took place on January 1, 2023.
Guests of Longleat in Wiltshire reported that they had been removed from the lion’s sanctuary due to a major unknown event.
Someone wrote on social media that they were being held in an enclosure and that they could see a lioness injured on the ground, who did not move.
A Longleat spokesperson confirmed that the lioness was attacked by another animal in her enclosure.
The spokesperson said: “This weekend (January 1, 2023) saw one of the lionesses in Longleat sadly be killed by another lion.
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“This type of event is very rare, but can occur naturally among apex predators.
“While the lion died almost instantly, it was incredibly fast.
“Our professional guards were on the scene right away, but those timelines meant that there was no possibility of interference. There was no risk to guests.”
Longleat has two prides of lions in the park and is described by some as one of the best African lion exhibits in the world.
In 2016, he described his pride of 28 lions as “naturally divided into two different social groups” due to the fact that wild cubs were shed to form their own pride.
At the time, it was written that as part of our safari park’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the lion sanctuary was being redeveloped so that the lions could roam more in the new six-and-a-half-acre environment.
The improvements, which are part of a £1.5m investment programme, also meant giving the lions free access to their indoor and outdoor areas day and night, making Longleat one of the first zoological collections in Europe to provide 24-hour open air. access to their big cats.
In 2014, the park came under fire for allegedly exterminating large numbers of lions due to an increase in pregnancies.
Park said in a statement that there was a 40% increase in pregnancies that led to “extremely violent behavior” and put 21 lions at risk.
“Unfortunately one lion, Henry, had to be knocked down earlier this year due to injuries from an attack inside the enclosure. Other mentioned lions were knocked down due to related and serious health risks.
“Following these events, five lions from this enclosure will be moved to another building.
“Longleat takes the utmost care in trying to protect the welfare and safety of all our animals.”