Lion rescued from Romania and brought to Yorkshire Wildlife Park dies aged 15

Ares the African lion. 
Yorkshire Wildlife Park / SWNSAres the African lion. 
Yorkshire Wildlife Park / SWNS
Ares the African lion. Yorkshire Wildlife Park / SWNS
A lion that was rescued from Romania and brought to a UK wildlife park has died aged 15.

Ares the African lion was put down at Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) in Doncaster, South Yorks,. yesterday (May 17) because of his 'declining health.' The big cat was one of 13 lions who came to the park in 2010 after being rescued from Oradea Zoo in Romania where they were living in tiny concreate pens.

A public appeal raised £150,000 to bring the animals over and Ares has lived at YWP ever since.

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Devastated fans and visitors to the park have paid tribute to the lion, describing him as a 'noble creature' who was the 'highlight of our visits.' One person said: "Thank you so much to YWP for everything you did for this noble creature.

"His retirement years were far longer and more comfortable under your care than they would have been without that amazing rescue mission all those years ago.

"We have loved visiting him over the years."

Another said: "RIP Ares - you were the highlight of our visits.

"We would spend ages just watching you and talking to you. You will be greatly missed.

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"Thank you to all who rescued him and gave him a fabulous life.

"He was a credit to you all."

One person said: "We are local and have been members since the lions were rescued.

"What a happy life he had here in Yorkshire with all his other pride soulmates.

"It must be so hard for his carers, who some have known him many years.

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"But many happy memories of Ares will help them through their grief, they made sure he did have a wonderful life at YWP."

A YWP spokesperson said that Ares 'holds a special place in the park's history' and that he had an 'unbreakable bond' with the animal rangers.

They said: "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.

"Ares, who came to Yorkshire Wildlife Park with 12 other Lions as part of a remarkable rescue mission in 2010, holds a special place in the park's history.

"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."