A popular drive-through safari park in England is under fire after reports emerged that a family of lions has been destroyed to combat problems stemming from improper breeding.
In an interview with the Mail Online, a whistleblower from Longleat Safari and Adventure Park detailed an incident in which a mother lioness and her four cubs were euthanized without a clear reasoning as to why. Initially, the park officials responded by saying that an increase in their lion numbers required that the animals be put down.
"There has been a large increase in pregnancies among the lions, resulting in a 40 percent increase in population," said a spokesperson from the park. "This has resulted in excessive violent behavior, putting 21 of them at risk."
Longleat has since taken to Facebook to offer a more detailed explanation. According to the park, when the lioness arrived there as an 18-month-old, she exhibited signs of an unknown neurological disorder. After an unplanned mating, her four cubs were found to have a similar condition which made them act aggressively. Staff then reviewed her genetic lineage and discovered "relatively high levels of inbreeding" as the likely cause.