Lion Ares put to sleep at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Ares the lion
Ares was rescued from Romania in 2010. Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Staff at a wildlife park have announced the "heartbreaking" news that a lion has been put to sleep after a period of declining health.

Fifteen-year-old Ares, who was among 13 lions rescued from a Romanian zoo in 2010, was euthanised at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.

In a statement on Facebook, the park said: "It is with a heavy heart that we share the heartbreaking news of the passing of our beloved African lion, Ares.

"After careful consideration and in light of his declining health, the dedicated team at Yorkshire Wildlife Park made the difficult decision to put Ares to sleep.

"Our hearts go out to the dedicated animal rangers who provided unwavering love and care to Ares on a daily basis, forming an unbreakable bond over the years."

Ares and his fellow lions were brought to the UK from Oradea Zoo in Romania, after a year-long campaign to raise £150,000.

Social media users reacted with sadness to the news and paid tribute to the park's role in caring for Ares.

Kathy Allen wrote: "This magnificent boy will be very much missed. You gave him a wonderful life and like so many people I followed the story of the lions from when they first arrived and Iove to watch them on our visits. Thank you for giving him a better life."

Lesley Ryder added: "I'm so sorry for your loss my heart goes out to all the keepers and the public that loved him. Run free big lad."

Justine Warner said: "We'll miss hearing his roar. I doubt he'd have lived another year if you hadn't rescued him, let alone 13."

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