Category: Animals

Published on: October 19th, 2023

It is with sadness we share the loss of Ted, our 16-year-old male African Lion.

Ted had been suffering from age-related symptoms that were being managed by our expert animal team. However, following an irreversible deterioration in Ted’s health and quality of life a difficult decision was made by our experienced veterinary team to prevent future suffering.

Ted was a very popular and charismatic member of the pride whose role was one of companionship and playmate to the rest of the pride. He was a firm favourite with guests and keepers alike and we are sad to have lost such an iconic lion, whose unique character brought joy on a daily basis to all the team that worked with him.

 He will be greatly missed by his family, staff and visitors.


He was castrated at an early age to allow him to remain in an active pride without being viewed as a threat and pushed out by the pride male.

Due to Ted’s lack of testosterone, he didn’t have a mane and didn’t exhibit any aggressive traits like that of an intact male, instead he concerned himself with fun things, such as play-chasing, stalking and rolling around with the pride. The other lions had huge affection and tolerance for Ted, he was often a source of protection and fun for the cubs, many of which are still in the pride today.

Ted was instantly recognisable because of his size and was often visitors’ favourite lion within our pride.

Ted was one of the oldest castrate lions in the UK. He had age-related arthritic symptoms resulting in mobility issues meaning he was struggling to walk and support himself. He also suffered significant weight loss attributable to liver disease in the week leading up to his death that could not be reversed with additional food supplements.

In the wild male lions usually live until they are around 8-10 years of age and a little longer when they are in human care.

Ted’s wellbeing was paramount, he was monitored closely by our expert animal and veterinary team. He had daily medication to treat the arthritis in his back legs, as well as the maximum dose of pain relief to help ease his symptoms. Ted was also given feed supplements to help boost his weight, but unfortunately the medications weren’t having a positive effect. The decision to euthanise Ted on welfare grounds was made after a lengthy, thorough assessment of his welfare following a rapid loss of condition attributable to liver disease in combination with long-standing but managed arthritis.

Humane euthanasia was administered by an experienced veterinary team in the presence of the members of the animal team who worked with Ted on a daily basis.  

The dynamic and hierarchy of the pride is not likely to be affected in the long term, however the animal team will be watching the lions’ behaviour closely over the next few weeks as the pride gets used to the new dynamics and the loss of their companion & playmate.

Ted’s condition was age-related. There are no health concerns about the rest of the pride at the present time.

African Lions are listed as vulnerable in the wild, largely due to trophy hunting and poaching. Healthy lion populations can be managed in zoos and safaris to prevent the species becoming endangered. Knowsley Safari’s ‘Lion Country’ helps educate our visitors about the plight of African Lions in the wild.

The African Lion pride at Knowsley Safari is established and there are no plans to introduce more lions to the existing pride.

Icon / Arrow / Left Created with Sketch.
Looking for something?