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Sponsored silence for Clarence the lion is a roaring success

By Canterbury Times  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

By Scarlet Jones

  • SILENCE FOR THE LIONS: Shannon Watts, 9, with park registrar Markus Wilder, raised money for the lions

  • SETTLING IN: The lions have settled in well at Wingham Wildlife Park after being rescued from a circus

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FORGET Silence of the Lambs – nine-year-old Shannon Watts decided on silence for the lions to raise money for an animal charity.

The schoolgirl adopted Clarence the lion at Wingham Wildlife Park in August and wanted to help pay for his care. So she organised a sponsored silence and raised £150.

The money was added to more than £2,000 raised at a Hallowe'en-themed fright night where visitors encountered staff dressed as ghosts and ghouls at a nighttime walk through the park.

Park registrar Markus Wilder said: "This year was the best Fright Night we have had over the past four years, raising a total of £2,053 which is absolutely brilliant. We are very proud of all of our friends, staff and volunteers who helped out during the night."

Clarence and his furry friend Brutus joined the park in January after they were rescued from a circus in France where they had been kept in a 21ft trailer and subjected to training methods which relied heavily on physical abuse.

Staff at Wingham have been working to overcome behavioural and health problems caused from their time in the circus.

Jackie Binskin, who owns the park with husband Tony, said the big cats were settling in nicely and adapting to their newfound freedom.

She said: "It has taken them a long time, but they now use their whole enclosure, and love to have a look around the park from the top of their raised platform.

"To us these animals have had a hard life and deserve to be given a good sized home with quality food, where people can see and love them from afar, and without them having to perform for attention."

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