ZOO keepers at Dudley Zoo and Castle have been left "devastated" at the sad death of one of the attraction's lionesses.

Asiatic lioness Kyra, aged 17, has been put to sleep after consultation with vets amid concerns about the animal’s age-related decline, the zoo confirmed today (Friday June 2).

A spokesperson for Dudley Zoo and Castle said: “Due to age-related declining health over recent weeks and following consultations with the zoo’s veterinary team, the kindest decision was made to put the 17-year-old to sleep.

“Her dedicated keepers are understandably devastated by her loss.”

Kyra and her sister Asha, who were born at Edinburgh Zoo in 2006, have been firm favourites with visitors at Dudley Zoo since moving Twycross Zoo in 2009.

Stourbridge News: Kyra the lioness pictured on her 10th birthday in 2016Kyra the lioness pictured on her 10th birthday in 2016 (Image: Dudley Zoo and Castle)

Plans were already in place to bring in a new companion for the two lionesses and zoo bosses say they hope to continue with the move and that Asha, aged 17, will remain in the one-acre Lion Ridge paddock where she will be joined by the new arrival in the coming months.