Colchester Zoo announces beloved lion will stay after death of lioness

Colchester Zoo's last remaining lion is set to stay after a lioness died

Colchester Zoo's last remaining lion is set to stay after a lioness died - Credit: Nina Day

The last remaining lion at Colchester Zoo will be staying at his current home after the death of a lioness, it has been announced. 

Bailey is the last lion left at the north Essex zoo following the death of female Naja in March, aged 18.

There were fears that Bailey would have to be rehomed so that he could live with other lionesses. 

Colchester Zoo had previously said it would explore all options, as introducing a female at his age could prove "too stressful".

However, the zoo decided these options were "almost impossible and irresponsible" and have revealed he would be better suited to his home in north Essex.

Colchester Zoo's lioness Naja who sadly passed away last week

Colchester Zoo's lioness Naja, who died earlier this year - Credit: Libby Page

Team leader Emma said: “As part of a group of three lions, Bailey was always the last one to come over to us keepers for meat or training as the lionesses were always much more interested in us and very food oriented.

"We reward the lions for coming into their house and Bailey is not always keen to come over for his reward, so we are trying to encourage this more now.

"We have been finding that recently he will come to take his reward and participate in a short training session with us.

Bailey will be staying in Colchester Zoo

Bailey will be staying in Colchester Zoo - Credit: Colchester Zoo

"At the moment we train target, lay down, paw and open mouth behaviours which he is doing very well.

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"All these behaviours help us to care for Bailey without the need of any sedation as we can access his health closely and take blood samples if necessary.“