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Lioness killed ‘almost instantly’ by lion in freak incident at UK safari park

Safari park guests looked on horror as a lioness was killed in a "rare but natural incident" in her enclosure.

The animal was killed by another lion at Longleat Safari Park on New Year’s Day after keepers realised that one of the stately home’s famous lions had been killed.

Despite their best efforts, experts were unable to save the severely-injured lioness.

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One guest wrote on social media that they were held up in the enclosure and could see a lioness not moving on the floor, clearly very badly injured.

At the time, it was unclear to guests what had happened. However, a spokesperson for Longleat has confirmed that the lioness was attacked by another of the animals in her enclosure.

The spokesperson told Wiltshire Live: "This weekend (January 1, 2023) saw one of the lionesses at Longleat sadly killed by another lion. This kind of incident is very rare but can naturally occur amongst apex predators.

"It happened incredibly quickly, with the lioness dying almost instantly.

"Our professional keepers were immediately on the scene, however the timescales involved meant there was no possibility of intervention. There was no risk to guests."

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The incident comes just weeks after two rare red panda cubs at the safari park died when temperatures dropped below freezing.

The tiny animals, born in the summer, were found in their nesting box and staff at the park said initial investigations indicated they had died from hypothermia and weaning problems.

Named Tala and Sumi, the young cubs were born to Emma and Lionel as part of a breeding programme for endangered species at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire.

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Devastated staff at the attraction made an announcement on social media at the time, which read: "We know so many of you have loved seeing these beautiful creatures for yourselves and will share our sadness in having to say goodbye to them.

"Thank you for your understanding at this time, especially for our keepers who formed such a special bond with them both."

Keepers at the safari park had provided additional shelter, bedding and food but the cubs were still dependent on their mum.

It was thought that their mother Emma had stopped offering supportive feeds and this is the most likely reason for the cubs' demise, coupled with the sub-zero temperatures.

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