Lions Play World Cup Ball at ZSL London Zoo

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Zoo’s lions show their support for the England team.

ZSL London Zoo Lion cubs support England football team

The keepers are all avid football fans so we thought we would make patriotic footballs to show our support for the England Team - hopefully they will play better football than our lions!

The lions at ZSL London Zoo will be showcasing their football skills this week in their new improved paddock.

With less than three weeks to go until the World Cup kicks off the Zoo’s two Asian lions Lucifer, seven and Abi, 11 and their young cubs Rubi and Max will be given patriotic footballs to show their support for the England Team.

The lion terraces have been improved so that the Zoo’s visitors can now get extra close to the family of four whilst they have their own kick-about.

The England footballs, which will be used as part of the lions’ enrichment, will be filled with their favourite meat treats which they will have to forage for, stimulating their natural curiosity.

Senior zookeeper, Raymond Charter, said: “We often give the lions enrichment which they have to use their own natural intelligence and curiosity to investigate.

“The keepers are all avid football fans so we thought we would make patriotic footballs to show our support for the England Team - hopefully they will play better football than our lions!”

The Big Cat enclosure is one of the Zoo’s most popular attractions and now visitors can get even closer to the Zoo’s endangered lion pride after a £100,000 face-lift.

Visitors to the Zoo this summer can expect to see the Zoo’s “mane” attraction supporting their home team in their new look terraces.

Editors Notes
ZSL
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. The Society runs ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide. For further information please visit http://www.zsl.org

Asian lions
Asian lions once ranged from Greece, across the Middle East to India, but persecution has virtually wiped it out. There are less than 300 Asian lions in the wild and they are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature. They live in the Gir Forest, NW India. They have smaller manes than African lions, making the ears more visible. They also have a pronounced fold of skin along the belly and thicker hair on the tail and elbows. Unlike African lions, male and female Asian lions seldom associate except to mate. Their typical prey is chital deer, but they also attack livestock which brings them into conflict with local people. They are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature.

ZSL London Zoo is open from 10.00am to 6.00pm during the summer months. Prices are £19.80 (including donations) if you’re 16+ and £16.00 for children, under 3’s go free. For further information please visit http://www.zsl.org

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Lynsey Ford