Monday, April 13, 2009

Grrr-eat arrival set for Dudley Zoo.

3:10pm Tuesday 7th April 2009

WORK is nearing completion at Dudley Zoo’s exciting new £150,000 lion enclosure, as keepers get ready for a new arrival.

Lion Ridge, a one-acre site, believed to be one of the largest big cat enclosures in the UK has been designed solely in-house by zoo keeping staff.

Construction has taken eight months to complete with the design echoing visitors' requests to get closer to animals, with viewing areas and interpretation zones.

The state-of-the-art construction incorporates internal and external enclosures and has heated pads installed within the external paddock for the lions’ comfort.

The layout also incorporates a Listed Tecton Building, formerly the Tropical Birdhouse, designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1937 when the Zoo opened.

Female lion Gir was moved into the new paddock two weeks ago and has settled in well. A new male lion, to replace her mate Max who died before Christmas, is being transferred to the zoo from a Dutch collection tomorrow.

Chief executive, Peter Suddock, said: “This part of the site was little used but developing it in this way makes superb use of the natural contours of the hill.

“We worked closely with English Heritage throughout all stages to ensure that the new enclosure was unobtrusive and complemented the Tropical Birdhouse.”

DZG has an excellent breeding record for Asiatic lions and has had six in eight years ­ they are highly endangered and now numbering fewer than 500 of which half are in collections across the world.

The new attraction is set to open at Easter.


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