Bristol Zoo is home to two lions; female Sonika and male Sahee.
Sonika joined us in May 2019 from Cotswold Wildlife Park and Sahee joined us in August 2019 from Le Pal Zoo in central France.
The Asiatic lion has unfortunately been declared the most endangered large cat species in the world. Asiatic lions are from India, where there are thought to be around 600 left in the wild.
Lions are carnivores. Asiatic lions feed on wild pigs, cattle, antelope and deer in the wild.
Here at the Zoo, our lions are fed five kilos of meat each throughout the week. They are not fed on set days or at set times as this reflects their natural behaviour in the wild where they would not successfully catch prey every day. They get a variety of joints, including ribs, leg and even the heads and tails! The joints have the fur on them and this helps provide the roughage that lions needs in their diet.
In the wild, Asiatic lions are found in only one place in the world; the Gir forest in India. The Gir Forest is a dry deciduous forest in Gujarat, western India. Its wildlife sanctuary is 545 square miles with only the central 100 square miles completely protected as a National Park.
About 7,500 Maldhari people and their 14,000 cattle live in the Forest Sanctuary, with a further 160,000 people and 100,000 cattle living within six miles of the Sanctuary.
The population was estimated to be around 100 between 1968 and 1979 but is now thought to be more than six times this. However, the forest has met its limit of the number of lions it can support and other safe havens for Asiatic lions in India are sorely needed.
As there are so few Asiatic lions, it is necessary to manage the populations in human care and the wild if the species is to recover.
Our lions love rolling in scented straw - anything from lavender to women's perfume!
You can find our Asiatic lions near the Main Entrance, at the start of the Top Terrace
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