After suffering with a decline in his health, staff decided it was in Ares’ best interest that he be put to sleep.
A Yorkshire Wildlife spokesperson said: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the heart breaking news of the passing of our beloved African lion, Ares.
“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 arrived at the park with 12 other lions as part of a rescue mission over 10 years ago. Before he was rescued, Ares was among three lion prides living in ‘filthy tiny concrete pens’ at a zoo in Oradea, in northwest Romania.
In February 2010, a public appeal raised £150,000 to allow a team of lion experts from across the UK to travel to Romania and bring the lions to their new seven-acre enclosure in Yorkshire. Over the years a number of the lions were relocated to other zoos, leaving Ares among six of those rescued to live out the rest of their days at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The spokesperson added: “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.”