Live updates

Lions 150m from cars at Longleat

The spokesman for Longleat Safari Park said that the visitors involved in the incident were believed to be a mother and her son and daughter who were aged around 12 or 13. Visitors said the lions were 150 metres from the people carrier when the incident happened and the car was left "burnt out".

The family remained in the smoking vehicle until the rangers arrived, and the car caught fire when they had left the area. Longleat staff said at no point were the mother and children waiting outside their vehicle.

Cars were cleared from the area following the fire to make way for the fire service, but the park was up and running again shortly after.

Advertisement

Lions put down at Longleat Safari Park

Six lions have been put down at Longleat in Wiltshire.

In a statement the Safari Park said the decision was taken after the animals exhibited "odd aggressive behaviour." They also say a review of the genetic lineage of the lions showed inbreeding amongst their grandparents before coming to Longleat.

At the age of 13 months, at the collection where she was previously held, Louisa exhibited neurological clinical signs which were thought to have been caused by inadequate nutrition leading to hypovitaminosis A.

This was treated at the time but never fully resolved itself and she continued to exhibit clinical signs of head tilt and tremors throughout her life.

Despite suitable nutrition these neurological signs were present in her cubs, which were clearly distinct from other litters in the pride as they all individually exhibited adverse neurological signs such as ataxia, incoordination and odd aggressive behaviour that were not considered normal or appropriate compared to other animals within the collection.

Reviewing the genetic lineage of Louisa and her cubs it was found both Louisa's parents exhibited relatively high levels of inbreeding, prior to arrival, at a grand parentage level and great-grand parentage level.

After considering the pressures in the group, due to the recent increase in

pregnancies, and the developmental disorders present in the cubs it was reluctantly decided that euthanasia was the responsible option for these individuals.

These decisions involve communication with all of our current staff, management team and with independent external ethical reviews undertaken to ensure we are consistent with best practice.

– Longleat Safari Park
National

Longleat defends lion cull after rise in pregnancies

Lions are among the star attractions at Longleat Safari Park, which opened in 1966. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive

One of Britain's most popular safari parks has defended a decision to cull six lions after an increase in pregnancies, which staff said had caused "excessive violent behaviour".

Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire said a lioness and her cubs were suffering from "neurological development disorders" and ruled euthanasia was the "responsible option".

The explanation on the the park's Facebook page was met by a mixed reaction from the public.

The cull comes after a public campaign failed to stop Copenhagen Zoo from killing a young male giraffe.

Read: Yorkshire Safari Park 'saddened' by giraffe killing

Advertisement

Longleat's tigers enjoy autumn leaves

Tigers play in the autumn leaves Credit: Ian Turner

Piles of autumnal leaves collected on the Longleat estate are providing a novel attraction for the Safari Park’s residents - including a trio of endangered Amur tigers.

All three of the big cats were apparently fascinated by the fallen leaves, particularly when keepers hid tasty treats inside.

“The tigers love anything new to investigate and they were soon leaping into the leaves and hunting out the food inside the mounds,” said Longleat’s Ian Turner.

Mild weather means the leaves have fallen later Credit: Ian Turner

“The leaf litter also provided the perfect opportunity for them to practise their ambush skills - it’s quite a sight to see fully-grown tigers leaping over piles of leaves!"

Have-a-go heron hops on a hippo at Longleat

The heron on its new perch. Credit: Longleat

This heron must have thought it had found the perfect fishing spot. But in fact it was pictured sitting on the back of one of Longleat Safari Park's most dangerous residents - a 1.5 tonne hippo.

Keeper Jon Reynolds at the Wiltshire safari park says the hippos are fairly short-tempered but as their skin can be 7cm thick, they may not even be aware of birds on their backs.

New attraction at Longleat as baby giraffe is born

The new giraffe at Longleat.

Visitors to Longleat Safari and Adventure Park were treated to a new attraction in the shape of a newborn giraffe.

The arrival is the latest success in an ongoing breeding programme for Rothschild’s giraffes at the famous Wiltshire site.

The giraffe meets its new neighbours.

Rothchild's giraffes are threatened with extinction, so the birth represents an exciting moment for visitors and breeders alike.

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories