Touch the wild at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has opened the one and only on-foot lion safari in Britain, as three prides of rescued lions are, for the first time in their lives, released into the open air.

The lions, who were brought to the Doncaster attraction from a run-down zoo in Romania earlier this year, join meerkats, wallabies, lemurs, and wild dogs in the open spaces of the 55-acre park.
The thirteen lions – ranging in age from 18-month-old-cubs to the 27-year-old ‘Johnny Senior’- were rescued from poor conditions at Oradea Zoo, in Romania.

Now, they are getting used to Yorkshire summer sunshine and are staking out their territory in the nine-acre Lion Country reserve. And walking through Lion Country, along an 800-metre secure pathway, will allow visitors to watch the lions as they interact with their new environment.
The lions have already divided themselves into three separate prides, says Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s animal director, John Minion.
“We don’t really know how the different lions will react to their new environment, whether they will be curious or worried to come out,” John says.
“Just like people, they have different characters. They have lived in cages all of their lives. For the youngsters, it might not be such a challenge, but Johnny Senior is very old for a lion and it will be a challenge for him.

The lions are set to become a highlight of the park, which already has an array of wildlife including a clan of lively meerkats, wallabies, a pack of painted hunting dogs – the most endangered carnivore in Africa – and four rare addax antelope. Three species of lemur live in the woodland walkthrough Lemur Woods.

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