A SCOTS zoo has put one of their rescued lions to sleep after discovering he had an incurable jawbone tumor.
Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, West Lothian were forced to euthanize their lion known as Twin One yesterday.
after being told that surgery would be “futile”.
Twin One was one of four lions who arrived at the zoo in 2015 after being rescued from a travelling French circus.
The lions were found to be crammed into tiny metal cages and had several broken teeth and their claws ripped out.
The animals were seized by Belgian officials in 2014 before being transported to Scotland where they have lived the past six years being cared for.
The zoo constructed a large outdoor area for the lions with rocks, a waterfall, pool and platform areas and a large, heated indoor den.
Five Sisters Zoo shared the devastating news yesterday (THUR) on their Facebook page.
They said: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce one of our beloved rescued lions, affectionately known to his keepers as Twin 1 has today sadly been put to sleep.
“Rescued after he and his brothers were confiscated from a travelling circus by Belgian authorities six years ago, we eagerly offered them a forever home here at FSZ.
“In the circus they had their claws ripped out and were suffering from several broken teeth which since arriving here, have been treated with the best veterinary care possible to ensure they were happy and healthy.
“Specialist veterinary dentists, surgeons and anaesthetists were called in to assess Twin 1’s teeth under anaesthesia but sadly we discovered he had an incurable jawbone tumor and unfortunately any surgery or treatment would have been futile.
“We fully believe his five and half years with us have been incredibly happy and like his brothers, he loved nothing more than lazing around in the sun in his large enclosure.
“We at FSZ are all devastated by this sad news and will miss him greatly.”
The zoo, who have also previously re-homed rescued ex-circus bears too, shared a video of Twin One’s time at Five Sisters.
Hundreds of animal lovers commented on the post to leave messages of support for the zoo and the lion’s keepers.
Jolan Audsley wrote: “Love coming to visit the lions. So sad but at least he lived the remainder of his life free from the confines of his previous existence.”
Shari Mcleod said: “So sorry for your loss. He at least knew joy in his life for a few years with FSZ and I’m sure thoroughly enjoyed being spoiled by all. Very best wishes to you all.”
Ann Wright commented: “So sorry to hear this. The lions are amongst our favourites at the zoo. Lucky we got to see all four for the last time on Tuesday. Thank you for taking such good care of them. Fly high Twin One.”
And Amy Greenan wrote: “How heartbreaking, I done the lion experience with you guys last February and seen how well you all cared for them, he had a brilliant last few years of life with you.”
In May 2014 Twin One and his three brothers were confiscated by the Belgian Government from French traveling circus, “Zavatta”.
They had been performing in the City of Luik – a French speaking area of Belgium.
Belgian law forbids the use of wild animals in circuses.
Despite Government Inspectors of Animal Welfare warning the circus of this fact on three occasions, the circus refused to stop performing.
A few days after the final warning, government officials confiscated the circus trailer and drove it to a Belgian rescue centre to facilitate the emergency temporary homing of confiscated animals.
Once the rescue centre had removed the lions from the circus trailer – the only home that the lions had ever known – they found it to have large pieces of metal jutting out and holes in the floor.
Twin One and his brothers arrived at Five Sisters Zoo on 18 October 2015 after months of fundraising.