Stock photo, barn owl: PA
It was meant to be light entertainment for visitors to Colchester Zoo - but a falconry display went horribly wrong when a barn owl was eaten by a lion.
The female bird, called Ash, had become disoriented and flew out of the arena, according to The Sun.
She ended up on a ledge in the lion enclosure, and was reportedly knocked out of the air by a lioness, before being pounced on and eaten by a male lion.
Staff moved in to try and save the bird, but could not get there in time.
Onlookers were horrified with women and children left in tears.
The owl, who was nine, reportedly got spooked, possibly by a camera flash, and veered into a window before flying on to the roof of the meerkat enclosure, and ending up in the lions' den.
Witness Gavin Duthie saw the drama unfold with his two-year-old son Daniel. He told the Daily Mail: "He was in tears, along with most of the people who were there. Women and children were screaming but it was all over in seconds.
"It's in the lion's nature. I have taught Daniel that lions are not fluffy animals. He was very upset but we will be back in the zoo again."