Colchester: Zoo Sorry After Owl Killed

Colchester Zoo has apologised after a barn owl was killed by a lion during a falconry demonstration.

It happened when the owl, named Ash, became spooked during the display and flew out of the falconry area, hitting the window of another enclosure before losing her footing and falling into the lion enclosure.

One of the lions is thought to have pounced on the owl after it was knocked out of the air by a lioness, witnessed by children and their parents.

Zoo staff cleared the area of visitors. Alex Downing from Colchester Zoo told Heart: "Everyone involved is obviously extremely upset about such a combination of events, and it was obviously very distressing to see, but there is nothing that anyone could have done at the time to avoid such an awful outcome.

"In twenty five years of falconry displays a fatality has never occurred as the birds do normally instinctively know that this isn’t a safe place to go. Unfortunately, we can only assume that it was because she was dazed that she flew across the enclosure."