Health 'MOT' on lioness Julie at Yorkshire Wildlife Park a roaring success

Julie the lioness at YWP
Veterinary surgeon pulls out the tongue of Julie the 15-year-old lioness Credit: PA Images

A 15-year-old lioness has been given a clean bill of health after she was given a full "MOT" at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Julie, one of the six lions at the park, was put under anaesthetic as keepers investigated tummy trouble the big cat had been having.

But staff said they used the hour-long window to conduct every test available on the much-loved animal.

Kim Wilkins, head of carnivores, said Julie had been presenting with stomach trouble and a lack of appetite so they decided to do a full check.

Julie gets an ultrasound as part of her health check Credit: PA Images

She said: "This is something we wanted to investigate further, to check there was nothing sinister going on, and it gave us the opportunity to do a full health check on her.”

Ms Wilkins said Julie was given an ultrasound to check on her gastrointestinal tracts, bloods test to check on her liver and kidney function and a check of her joints.

"It’s an opportunity to give her a full MOT, really," she said

She said the good news was that Julie appears to be in good health, despite her advancing years. Lions in captivity usually live to their early 20s.

Julie was put under anaesthetic so keepers could have a look at her Credit: PA Images

Julie lives with her male friend Ares at the South Yorkshire park.

The lions have been in Doncaster since 2010, when 13 were brought over from a dilapidated zoo in Romania. Ares and Julie are still living in the seven-acre Lion Country along with Simba, Maria, Carla and Crystal.