Snoopy the African lion, which was found to have a tumour.
THERE were emotional scenes at the Isle of Wight Zoo yesterday morning (Thursday), following the death of one of its best-loved big cats.
Snoopy the African lion was not brought round after a routine procedure to treat a broken tooth uncovered a tumour inside his mouth.
Snoopy, 14, is one of the zoo’s best-loved big cats and shared an enclosure with his littermate brother, Charlie Brown. The pair were hand-raised together.
The pair could often be seen curled up together or grooming each other.
Specialist veterinary dentist Lisa Milella was investigating inflammation in Snoopy’s mouth, thought to be connected to a fractured lower canine tooth, when she made the shock discovery.
She said: "When we opened up his mouth, you could see it wasn’t related to the broken tooth.
"There was tumour tissue which had invaded the bone around the tooth."
To avoid any unnecessary suffering, it was decided not to bring Snoopy round.
The loss has shocked staff at the zoo, where Snoopy, described as a 'soft hearted fellow’, has lived since he was 18 months old.
With his impressive blonde mane, he was the dominant male of the group and could often be seen soaking up the sun in a prime position on the roof of a safari-style Land Rover in the enclosure.
Staff were said to be looking after Charlie Brown, who was dependent on Snoopy for a sense of security and protection, and refuses to settle down at night without him at his side.