The moment lions maul a monkey to death as it shrieks in agony at Scottish safari park
- An investigation has been launched after the Barbary macaque escaped
- Families looked on in horror as a lioness ran off with the monkey in its jaws
- Its screams could be heard across the Blair Drummond Safari Park
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
Families watched in horror as an endangered monkey was mauled to death by a pride of lions at one of the UK’s leading safari parks.
An investigation has been launched after the Barbary macaque escaped from its own reserve and climbed into the lions’ den.
Its screams could be heard across the Blair Drummond Safari Park as the big cats tore at its neck and limbs in full view of paying customers.
One of the park’s keepers tried to shield the gravely injured monkey by parking his pick-up truck over its stricken body, but a lion snatched it from under the vehicle and ran off with it in its jaws.
The macaque’s body was later recovered by staff at the safari park, which is among Scotland’s busiest tourist attractions.
Images of the attack captured on a visitor’s phone and later passed to The Mail on Sunday show the animal trapped in the jaws of a lioness.
An eyewitness said: ‘We left pretty traumatised. Of course you are dealing with wild animals which act out of instinct, but surely it’s the park’s responsibility to keep endangered animals safe and not allow them to jump straight in the lions’ den?
‘It was a large monkey and surprisingly fast – but it didn’t stand a chance. It was scary to see the lions circle and then chase it down. We realised little could be done to save it.
‘The awful sound of the monkey screaming for its life will stay with us.
‘We had hoped for a happy day out with our young child but ended up having to explain to a toddler what had happened.’
The monkey that died was one of 30 that were brought to Blair Drummond’s five-acre drive-through monkey reserve from Gibraltar in 2014 for conservation and breeding. The species is listed as endangered due to hunting, habitat destruction and illegal pet trade, with numbers in the wild now estimated at just 8,000.
Sam Threadgill, of the charity Freedom For Animals, said: ‘This heartbreaking and wholly avoidable incident is yet another example of why zoos and safari parks need to be phased out.
‘Such outdated public entertainment venues have no place in a modern, caring society, let alone in any truly meaningful and compassionate conservation work.’
The monkey that died was one of 30 that were brought to Blair Drummond’s five-acre drive-through monkey reserve from Gibraltar in 2014
Images of the attack captured on a visitor’s phone and later passed to The Mail on Sunday show the animal trapped in the jaws of a lioness
Park bosses have notified the local licensing body and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which can issue sanctions if appropriate standards were not met.
A spokesman for Blair Drummond, near Stirling, said new procedures had already been implemented and the staff involved offered support.
‘We are sorry our visitors witnessed what must have been a distressing sight. This tragic event is being felt deeply by the teams involved. We are taking this extremely seriously. The safety of our visitors and the care of our animals is our highest priority.
‘The incident in the lion enclosure has never happened before and we share the shock and concern that this took place.’