Zoo lovers claim park ‘allowed lion cub to die on video before eaten by pack’

A wildlife park has sparked a social media row after one of its lion cubs died.

Bosses from Port Lympne Reserve near Hythe, Kent, revealed that the creature had "succumbed to the elements very quickly."

The cub had ventured outside the night before and sadly died.

However, animal lovers who were watching the live feed from the park, took to social media to dispute the circumstances surrounding the lion's death.

They claim the cub was suffocated as five other lions huddled together to stay warm, before being eaten by the pride.

One claimed: "The cub that died last night was suffocated by five large lion bodies lying together to keep warm. It didn't wander anywhere.

"This poor little lion cub was also clearly unwell over the last three days – it was constantly panting, had trouble feeding and was listless.

"That cub would be alive if [Port Lympne had intervened].

"This is shocking negligence and these animals need to be removed from their care."

The reserve said in a statement on Tuesday that the cub left the den overnight, unnoticed by its mother Oudrika.

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They said "it later became clear that it had indeed passed away."

The statement adds that Oudrika and her one remaning cub have been taken to another shelter, "where she is protecting it."

The cub was born along two others on January 13 at the wildlife park.

The litter was raised alongside older siblings who were born at the reserve two years previously.

A Port Lympne spokesperson told KentOnline: "To the best of our knowledge we believe that the cub wandered out and succumbed to the elements, we have no evidence to support other scenarios.

"We do not have the ability to watch back the live stream from Monday night into Tuesday morning, therefore we can only surmise that the cub had left the warmth of the pride.

"If any of our livestream viewers recorded the evening, as has been claimed, we would welcome the opportunity to review the footage.

"With regards to splitting the pride up, we always leave cubs in the protection of their parents unless they are rejected or the behaviour of the group becomes dangerous.

"The remaining cub is being closely watched by their mother Oudrika."

The Aspinall Foundation, who run Port Lympne, have been contacted by the Daily Star for comment.

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