Park’s lion dies after fight with pride rivals

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A lion at Yorkshire Widlife Park, near Doncaster, has died after being mauled in a fight with other big cats at the attraction.

Vets made the decision to put Johnny Junior – one of the pride rescued from a Romanian zoo – to sleep after he was injured when the animals got into a brawl on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Branton attraction, said: “Without any prior warning, the pride, which included four females, had a fight.

“Staff managed to separate the lions within minutes of the fight starting and called them into the house, where the vet attended Johnny.

“Unfortunately, his injuries were such there was no option but to put him to sleep.

“This was distressing for the staff who have cared for 16-year-old Johnny since he arrived in the UK in 2010, especially as the whole episode was unprecedented and out of character for the pride.”

Johnny was one of 13 lions whose plight was highlighted in a campaign to rescue them from appalling conditions in run down Oradea Zoo.

The story of the lions moved thousands of people to donate more than £150,000 to bring Johnny and 12 other lions back to the park’s Lion Country enclosure.