Colchester Zoo's last remaining lion could be rehomed after lioness dies

Colchester Zoo's Bailey the lion

Colchester Zoo's Bailey the lion - Credit: Nina Day

The last remaining lion at Colchester Zoo could soon be leaving his current home after the death of its lioness.

Bailey is the last lion left at the north Essex zoo following the death of female Naja last week, aged 18.

The zoo said it is currently evaluating its options, with one suggestion being considered involving bringing another lioness in to live with Bailey.

However, this will rely on one being available from a nearby zoo.

Colchester Zoo said in a statement on its website: "Given Bailey’s age, introducing a female at this stage in his life could prove too stressful.

"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 also exploring relocating Bailey to another zoo with a pride of lionesses.

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

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"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 and 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.

"We pride ourselves on the ability to make the right decisions based on the health and wellbeing of our animals.

"Losing an animal never gets easier at Colchester Zoo, especially when they have become a firm favourite amongst visitors and staff, and we hope that you will support our decision to keep Bailey at Colchester Zoo’s Lion Rock for now, on his own."