Asiatic lion – Image by Edo Emmerig from Pixabay 

Bristol Zoo Gardens’ two asiatic lions, Sahee and Sonika, moved to their new home at The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent on Friday 3 March.

The move comes following Bristol Zoological Society’s decision to close Bristol Zoo Gardens in September 2022 although throughout the winter months the two lions have continued to be cared for by the zoo’s dedicated team of keepers and in-house veterinary team. 

The pair, Sahee (male) and Sonika (female), both seven, have been moved to allow Bristol Zoological Society to prioritise those species that most need protecting, improve animal welfare and deliver meaningful conservation work. At the new Bristol Zoo, 80 percent of the species will be linked to the Society’s conservation programmes around the world.

Al Toyne, team lead of mammals at Bristol Zoological Society explained that Asiatic lions are not a species that the west country zoo currently work with in the wild, so it was necessary they had a new home to ensure the highest levels of care could continue for them both.

“They will be missed and I’m sure many people who used to visit them at Bristol Zoo Gardens will be keen to visit them at their new home, which will be complete with quiet off-show dens, heated rocks to rest upon and more grassy areas to prowl”, Al added.

Sahee and Sonika will be joining a whole host of other exotic cat species including tigers, snow leopards, puma, lynx and jaguar at Big Cat Sanctuary, near Ashford.

Asiatic lions are from the state of Gujarat in India, where there are thought to be only several hundred left in the wild. While the population is low, it has remained stable for the last couple of years.

More information

For more information about their new home at The Big Cat Sanctuary, visit: 

Bristol Zoo shut its Clifton site in September 2022.

Many of Bristol Zoo’s animals went to attraction Wild Place, on the northern outskirts of the city.

By Ed

©2024 Hawkinge Gazette       -       The Hawkinge Gazette is not responsible for the content of external sites