News Releases

Female lion returned to primary enclosure

News Release

Friday, January 03, 2014

Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3852

A 7-year-old lioness that dug out of her primary enclosure at a Spring Hill wildlife sanctuary has been returned to a secure enclosure at the Pasco County facility by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officers.

“The animal remained within the Survival Outreach Sanctuary’s 10-foot-high perimeter fence and never posed an immediate risk to the public,” said FWC spokesman Gary Morse.

The incident was reported to the FWC at 10:02 a.m. by the lioness’s owner, Judy Watson. Shortly after FWC officers arrived they located the animal resting comfortably within the facility’s perimeter fence. FWC officers and a veteran wildlife expert, Vernon Yates, tranquilized the lion and returned it to a secure enclosure without incident.

A complete inspection of the facility and its records was conducted by the FWC. Watson was charged with one misdemeanor for conditions that led to an escape.

Sixteen FWC officers and four Pasco County deputies responded to the scene. “The FWC thanks the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office for its invaluable assistance with the incident,” said FWC Deputy Director of Law Enforcement Lt. Col. Jack Daugherty.



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