Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Oldest rescued lion dies in Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Johnny Senior, lion at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Image caption Johnny arrived in Doncaster from Romania in 2010

A lion rescued from a Romanian zoo has died at the South Yorkshire wildlife park that welcomed him and his pride.

Johnny Senior was believed to be 30 years old and the eldest of 13 lions rescued by Yorkshire Wildlife Park from Oradea Zoo in 2010.

Experts at the park in Branton, Doncaster, decided to have him put to sleep due to ill health.

John Minion, director of the park, said: "He was a real one-off and a fantastic leader of his pride."

Johnny was already elderly when he was transported to Doncaster after a fundraising campaign to rescue the pride from Romania.

The pride travelled in a specially-modified Boeing 737.

Daiana Ghender, the director of Oradea Zoo, previously said she was "very, very happy" to see the lions in their new nine-acre enclosure in Doncaster.

Johnny arrived at his new home with ulcers on his feet and tail, and emaciated by a poor diet.

His condition improved under veterinary care and attention from staff at the wildlife park.

Mr Minion said: "I would like to thank all our staff and vets for their tremendous efforts."

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