A popular lion has died after a fight with females at Knowsley Safari Park.
The seven-year-old lion, Mojo, was involved in an overnight fight with the lionesses, an event which is common within a mixed sex group and is part of natural behaviour.
During checks on Tuesday February 12, keepers discovered Mojo's injuries.
The vet team at the safari park near Liverpool moved in swiftly to help him with pain relief but he died while recovering from the anaesthetic.
The post-mortem revealed Mojo had muscular injuries which were not immediately visible, and likely to cause high levels of toxicity, meaning there was no chance of recovery.
Keepers had noticed some hostility towards Mojo but separating him from the pride would have meant spending the rest of his life alone and integrating him with another pride would likely have resulted in the same fate.
The lion's brother, Scooter, was not harmed in the incident but has a strong position in the pride and a similar occurrence is unlikely.
He remains the only male in the pride.
Attacks on pride males can, and do, happen regularly in the wild. Male lions need to be accepted into the pride and as a result conflict is a normal part of lion social behaviour.
The death comes after two similar incidents earlier this month. A female tiger was savaged to death by her new mate at London Zoo while at Longleat Safari Park, 13-year-old female tiger Shouri was killed by two others.