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'Lions' soccer team takes on actual lion in tug-of-war

By Ben Hooper

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- A British animal sanctuary celebrated World Lion Day by pitting a youth soccer team called the Lions against a real African lion in a tug-of-war.

The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden, England, enlisted the Foots Cray Lions Junior Football Club to pull on one end of a rope while Kasanga the African lion pulled on the other end.

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The sanctuary said Kasanga was motivated by a piece of meat tied to his end of the rope.

"It was lots of fun and reasonably well balanced, at least it appeared that way," the sanctuary said in a Facebook post. "Although, Kasanga really didn't look as though he was putting in too much effort. He demonstrated the sheer strength and power of the World's most iconic apex predator with supreme ease."

"The tug of war was great fun as Kasanga is so powerful he used his sheer body weight to lean backwards and hold onto the meat," sanctuary spokesman Tanith Brown told Kent Online. "Boys in the team appreciated how huge and powerful a lion is and it was a good enrichment exercise for Kasanga who has an awesome personality."

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"A truce was called and the game ended as it was dinner time for Kasanga, but everyone had great fun," he said.

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