Liontrust makes world of difference for Asiatic lions

ZSL London Zoo’s big cats celebrate support on World Lion Day

For World Lion Day this year, the Asiatic lion pride at ZSL London Zoo were treated to a new toy to commemorate three years of support from specialist fund management group Liontrust.

The metre-wide boomer ball, specially designed to be robust enough for large, strong, animals to play with, was painted with the world’s continents and oceans and scented with the pride’s favourite aromatic herbs and spices.

Zookeeper Lucy Reed said: “Scenting the ball encourages our pride to use their incredible sense of smell to track it through their territory, as they would with prey, before using their sharp claws to tear into it – acting as a natural manicure for our lionesses.

“As an international conservation charity, our work extends far beyond the boundaries of ZSL London Zoo. The pride of Asiatic lions, and indeed their home at Land of the Lions, are ambassadors for the work we’re supporting in the Gir Forest, Gujarat, India – the Asiatic lions’ last remaining stronghold, where just 500 remain.

“We’re grateful to be celebrating three years with Liontrust on World Lion Day. Their support has helped us to build a magnificent new home for our big cats, and supports our ongoing work in the Gir National Park.”

 

The painted globe was a gift for lionesses Heidi, Indi and Rubi from Liontrust, whose support not only helped ZSL to build the pride’s new Land of the Lions home but enables the charity to carry out its vital conservation work with the Critically-Endangered species in India. Rubi is an eight year old female whilst Indi and Heidi, who are twins, are six. All three females were born at London zoo and are accompanied by Bhanu, an eight year old male.

 

Despite the torrential downpours, the spirits in the lion enclosure were not dampened for World Lion Day and Rubi, Heidi and Indi were eager to investigate their new new toy. Unfortunately for Bhanu, the three girls enthusiasm eventually resulted in the ball winding up in the enclosure’s pool, tantalizingly out of reach for big cats who don’t want to get their paws wet.

 

Words by Rachael Funnell, images used with permission from ZSL