Lion at centre of rescue effort dies aged 30

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ZOOKEEPERS who rescued a pride of lions from squalid conditions a Romanian zoo and brought them to Yorkshire yesterday said the eldest of the group had died.

The 30-year-old animal, called Johnny Senior by staff, had been living at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster, after arriving in the country in February 2010.

A national fundraising campaign had been mounted to rescue him and 12 other lions from Oradea zoo in north-western Romania where they had been kept in cramped concrete cells.

Park director John Minion John Minion said: “We are all deeply saddened. His presence at the Park will be greatly missed. He was a real one- off and a fantastic leader of his pride.

“After spending most of his life in terrible conditions, at least Johnny Senior spent his final years in the surroundings that he deserved.”