A lioness was killed “almost instantly” by a lion at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire on New Year’s Day. Guests said they were diverted away from the lion enclosure in the early afternoon due to an unknown major incident.
One of the guests held up near the enclosure said on social media that they could see a lioness lying still on the floor injured.
Guests did not appear to be aware that the lioness had been killed.
Longleat Safari Park said that keepers rushed to the scene but despite their best efforts the animal died “almost instantly”.
Such incidents are very rare but can “naturally occur” the park added.
There was however no risk posed to guests close to the lion enclosure.
A Longleat spokesperson told Wiltshire Live that the timescales involved made the survival of the Lioness almost impossible.
They said: “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.
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The two animals, who were born last summer, were found in their nesting box.
Staff said that initial investigations showed that they had died from hypothermia and weaning problems.
The young cubs named Tala and Sumi were born to Emma and Lionel as part of a breeding programme for endangered species at the park.