By Alix Culbertson
The zoo's Asiatic lions will be able to roam freely around the 27,000 sq ft enclosure in a bid to breed more to help the world's dwindling population of just 400
Land of the Lions will open in spring 2016 at the ZSL zoo in Regent’s Park to provide ultra-modern facilities for a breeding group of endangered Asiatic lions, of which only 400 remain in the world.
Initial work will start at the beginning of November on the 2,500 sq m (27,00 sq ft) enclosure which is fives times the size of the previous one and is expected to take 16 months to complete.
Land of the Lions is part of Lions400, the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) public fundraising campaign which also supports ZSL’s international projects to protect wild Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest in India.
Asiatic lions are particularly vulnerable to the threats of disease and conflict with humans as there is such a tiny population remaining in a small pocket of forest.
ZSL work with the Gujurat government and Wildlife Institute of India to safeguard the lions’ futures.
Visitors to the new exhibit will be able to see how closely humans and lions live in the Gir Forest as they go through an Indian village and through to the lions’ den where they can be seen with a 360° view.
Cat naps are essential and Asiatic lions sleep for up to 16 hours a day so visitors will be able to see them enjoying a nap in their custom built lion hotel.