King of the Beasts - World Lion Day 2016 celebrated at zoos around the globe
'King of the jungle', or 'king of the beasts'; lions have captivated humans for centuries - arguably one of nature's proudest mammals and greatest hunters. Here at Noah's Ark we joined in this week's global appreciation of the species for World Lion Day 2016 on Wednesday 10th August, a chance for zoological institutions and the general public to acknowledge the importance of African and Asiatic lions and support worldwide conservation efforts. We are proud to look after two beautiful African lions within our Big Cat Sanctuary at the zoo, Masai and Arusha. Masai was born at Linton Zoo in 2009 and at 7 years old is now a mature adult male. Female Arusha joined the park in 2013 from Heythrop Wild Animal Park in Oxon and is 5 years old. Paired together in 2015, we are hoping our loved-up lions will breed in the next few years and form their own pride. Part of the focus of World Lion Day is to support wild conservation but also responsible breeding in captivity. Like other zoos and animal parks around the world, visitors to Noah's Ark on Wednesday 10th August got to take part in a range of fun activities and events to celebrate these majestic animals. We were delighted to raise money for a special charity formed in the UK in support of the protection and management of lions both in the wild and in zoos - the Safina Lion Project. The charity is named after a popular lioness from Linton Zoo, Safina, who is also the mum of our male lion Masai. So a charity with links very close to home! The Safina Lion Project works to ensure a responsible approach to lion species survival on 3 key issues:
- to promote a responsible captive breeding programme in zoos to ensure a healthy gene pool
- to raise awareness and funds for responsible lion conservation projects carried out in Africa
- the belief that as a species we are responsible to ensure that we do what we can to help save the 'King of the Beasts' before it is too late
As part of a busy lion-themed day, our visitors enjoyed a special informative Lion Talk at 1pm, including being able to watch the lions enjoy blood lollies, a favourite (if slightly gory) treat on a warm day! The day also featured a craft stall with face masks and lion-related items for sale in support of our chosen charity. We also included a prize draw at the end of the day, with 3 lucky winners getting their hands on a Lion Feeding Experience, a Lion Adoption and a Family Day Ticket. For those not quite so lucky, if getting up close to Big Cats is your thing - why not book yourself onto one of our Big Cat Experiences? You'll get within a whisker of nature's most impressive felines... if you dare! With International Tiger Day and World Lion Day both celebrated in the last fortnight, we're pleased to have joined the global support for these amazing animals. We're not finished yet either, this Friday 12th August we are continuing our push for conservation and education with World Elephant Day. Join us for a colourful day full of family events, an informative Elephant Presentation and a special unveiling...! Visit us to find out more...