Members of the public at Colchester Zoo have been left in shock after a much loved vulture flew out of the display ground and onto the netting of the Lion enclosure and found hole where it flew into the enclosure and was killed by a female lion.
Tourist watched the drama unfold at the Zoo in Essex and even saw the bird be killed by a lioness.
Yatsey was still alive when the keepers managed to get into the enclosure and get her out but sadly she died on the way to the vets in the back of the car.
Yatsey suffered a puncture wound when one of the zoo’s lionesses bit him during the attack.
A member of the public said to Ipswich Star:
‘It’s a bit unbelievable, really. We were watching the falcon display and the trainer said, we’re going to have to try something different with the vulture today because the winds are blowing in a different direction.
‘Obviously, the vulture didn’t do what they hoped it would do because it just carried on flying off and you could hear the trainer saying, ‘Where’s he going? Where’s he going?’
Another visitor has said:
‘Me and my family witnessed this yesterday and I have to say the team at Colchester zoo were fantastic in clearing the area of visitors and attending to the situation straight away.’
Colhester Zoo have relesed a statement saying:
‘We are very saddened to report that on Sunday 4th February Eurasion Griffon Vulture Yatsey passed away.
‘Yatsey was free flying during one of our educational bird displays when he diverted from his usual course and landed on the netted roof above the lion’s enclosure, instinctively, one of the lioness’ caught Yatsey.
‘Keepers acted quickly and effectively to get the lions into their inside enclosure to prevent them from causing further harm.
‘Yatsey was swiftly retrieved by keepers and after an initial examination Yatsey had sustained a puncture wound which looked treatable and keepers were confident he would pull through with veterinary treatment.
‘However, following the situation Yatsey had experienced, on the journey to the vets Yatsey sadly passed away from shock.
‘The netting used above the lion’s outdoor area is designed to stop birds from landing within the enclosure, this is not designed as a security feature, we can confirm that at no point was the safety and security of the lion’s enclosure compromised.
‘We would like to thank visitors for their understanding and cooperation whilst keepers worked to retrieve Yatsey.