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Lucifer the 30-stone lion gets health check

Spare a thought for the vets at London Zoo who have been looking after Lucifer, the 30 stone lion.

The Asian big cat's been given a heath check to make sure he's fit and ready to join a new breeding group for the endangered species in a new location.

Lucifer the Lion given a health check before he moves to a new breeding group Credit: ZSL
Vets had to give the 11-year-old an all-over examination Credit: ZSL

Zookeepers had to train the 11-year-old lion, named after his studbook number 666, to lie on his side so they could administer an anesthetic with an injection.

He's part of a special Zoological Society of London campaign, Lion400, aimed at raising £5.7 million to save the species.

Vets gave him an all-over examination in his enclosure down to checking the inside of his mouth to check his teeth.

He's been given a clean bill of health and will move later this week.


Essex lion hunt called off

Police have called off a search for a lion reportedly on the loose in Essex.

Officers have spent almost 24 hours combing the countryside around Clacton-on-Sea after a group of residents yesterday claimed to have seen the king of the jungle near Earls Hall Drive in St Osyth.

But after search teams found no evidence of the big cat, the force this afternoon decided to stop looking.

Woman who saw Essex lion said it was tan coloured with a white chest

Denise Martin was the first to spot the suspected lion yesterday evening from the windows of her caravan near Clacton. She said it was tan coloured with a white chest.

Mrs Martin, from Canvey Island, was spending the Bank Holiday weekend at the site with her husband, and brother.

"I was looking out of the window and we saw smoke - it looked like there had been a bit of a bonfire. When you are in a caravan you panic about smoke,"

"When the smoke cleared I could see this shape in the field, so I got the binoculars out. We had a look and it looked like a lion.

"I said to my husband 'What do you make of that?' He said 'That's a lion.' We walked out of the caravan nearer to the field to get a better look.

"Five or 10 minutes later we got my brother and my sister-in-law to have a look. They came and looked at it and said 'It looks like a lion.' My husband phoned the police."

– Denise Martin, Eyewitness

Picture of suspected lion passed to police

Police hunting a lion believed to be on the loose in Essex were contacted by locals who had taken a photograph of the big cat.

Roger Lord, of Earls Hall Farm, St Osyth, said a picture of the suspected lion was taken by residents in caravans on the farm land and passed to police.

"I am sceptical - I think it might just well be a large domestic cat but they certainly saw something that they were were concerned about and they went down the right route to the police.

"They have taken it very seriously and have put two helicopters up in the air and I don't know how many armed police that we still have on site now. They have taken it very seriously."

– Roger Lord, of Earls Hall Farm, St Osyth