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Lonely lion could be moved from his home to be with others

Staff at Colchester Zoo are keeping a close eye on lonely Bailey - and are even considering relocating him to another zoo with a pride of lionesses.

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By Sarah Lumley via SWNS

Britain's loneliest lion could be relocated from his home of 12 years to be with other lionesses - after losing his second female companion in two years.

Bailey the lion has been king of the pride at Colchester Zoo in Essex since 2010, when he arrived with his cousins Naja and Malika.

Bailey the lion at Colchester Zoo. (Shanice Moore via SWNS).

But now Bailey has been left all alone, after 18-year-old Naja was put down last week following a rapid deterioration in her health.

It comes less than 18 months after Bailey and Naja lost Malika in October 2020, at the age of 16.

Now, staff at Colchester Zoo are keeping a close eye on lonely Bailey - and are even considering relocating him to another zoo with a pride of lionesses.

In a statement issued on their website earlier this week, zoo staff wrote: "We would like to thank all our visitors for the overwhelming support that we have received following the devastating news of the passing of our female lioness, Naja, on Friday 4th March.

"We have received many kind messages towards our staff, as well as concerns about our male lion, Bailey.

"Bailey’s health and welfare is our top priority and, whilst our Animal Care Team continues to monitor him daily, discussions have been put in place by the Animal Care Management Team regarding Bailey’s future at Colchester Zoo.

"The team are currently exploring bringing in a female lioness for Bailey, but this option is reliant on a lioness being available at one of our neighboring zoos.

"However, given Bailey’s age, introducing a female at this stage in his life could prove too stressful. The team are also exploring relocating Bailey to another zoo with a pride of lionesses.

Bailey the lion at Colchester Zoo.(Shanice Moore via SWNS).

"This would be dependent on another organization having the space to house Bailey and the move alone could prove too much.

"Bailey has become a big part of the Colchester Zoo family and parting with him feels almost impossible and irresponsible.

"Our Animal Care Team will continue to monitor Bailey’s mental and physical welfare over the next few weeks.

"It’s our responsibility to ensure that Bailey’s welfare is at the forefront of any decision made, which may include letting him live out the rest of his life here at the zoo by himself."

A previous statement last week also paid tribute to Naja, writing: "Naja was truly one of a kind.

"Her personality and character set her aside from any other animal we’ve had the pleasure to work with.

"Naja had a gentle side where she would interact with her keepers, but very quickly changed when food was available!

"Not only will all the staff at Colchester Zoo miss Naja, but she also leaves behind our male lion, Bailey.

"Bailey and Naja were cousins along with Naja’s sister, Malika, who passed away back in 2020.

"All three lions had a strong bond, with the bond between Bailey and Naja made even stronger with the loss of Malika."

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