South Korea zoo lions that killed keeper relocated to Colorado sanctuary

KEENESBURG, Colo. — Three lions from a South Korea zoo that were involved in a zoo keeper’s death were recently welcomed to a new home in Colorado.

In February 2015, three lions at the Children’s Grand Park Zoo in Seoul became the center of a controversy after one or more of them killed an animal keeper that was installing equipment in the enclosure.

Following the attack, the deceased man’s family and others called for the lions to be euthanized. The Korean Animal Welfare Association, the largest animal welfare agency in the country, opposed this move and were able to spare the animals’ lives until a suitable, permanent home could be found for them.

It took three and a half year, but those lions finally have a new home at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, about 45 minutes northeast of Denver.

While in South Korea, the male and female lions and their 2-year-old cub had been living in separate concrete holding cages away from the public since the attack in 2015. The Wild Animal Sanctuary said the cub suffered from a severe Vitamin A deficiency while in Korea and has only known life on concrete, so vets will keep on eye on it as it recovers.

The lions, which are now in Colorado, are beginning the rehabilitation and adaption process that will soon lead to their release onto a 15-acre natural habitat with trees, dens, shade structures and other features.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the largest nonprofit carnivore sanctuary in the world, with more than 450 rescued lions, tigers, bear, wolves, leopards and other carnivores living in large acreage natural habitats.

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