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Love is in the air for lions at Bristol animal park

28th April 2016

Categories: Latest News

A popular ‘big zoo’ animal park in North Somerset has this week announced its hope to breed it’s lions for the first time.

 

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, Bristol - home to elephants, rhinos, giraffes and big cats - is beginning a managed breeding program for its loved-up lion pair, 7 year old Masai and 5 year old Arusha.

 

If successful, this will be the first time lions have bred at the animal park, and visitors will be able to see cubs at the Big Cat Sanctuary exhibit.

 

Keepers and visitors have seen the affectionate lion pair showing increased interest in each other and attempting mating in recent weeks.

 

African lions first arrived at Noah’s Ark in 2010, with brothers Zulu and Masai joining the park from Linton Zoo. Lionesses Arusha and Wilma joined the zoo in 2013 from Heythrop Zoological Gardens in Oxon and were paired with the lions. Zulu and Wilma moved as a pair to Borth Zoo in 2015, with Masai and Arusha staying at Noah’s Ark – a firm favourite with visitors.

 

Considering Arusha’s age and size when she arrived at Noah’s Ark, her Keepers wanted to allow her to mature in her own time. She was put on a 2 year contraceptive which is now wearing off naturally.

 

With a gestation of 110 days, if Noah’s Ark’s lions breed successfully it won’t be a long wait before visitors will hear the patter of padded furry paws. The park will keep the family together as a group, giving two joined paddock areas with more space for the growing pride.

 

Big Cat Head Keeper Emma Godsell comments:

 

“When Arusha first arrived here in 2013 she was a bit small and young to have cubs so we gave her a 2 year contraceptive treatment before introducing her to Masai. This contraceptive is now wearing off naturally, so we're just waiting for her to enter her first oestrus and then it's up to the lions how quickly things proceed from there. We're hoping their first litter may arrive this year, Arusha is now a good size and age for her first cubs."

 

The zoo will keep visitors updated this season on its website and social media channels.

 

The park has also recently welcomed Spectacled Bears, opening one of the largest bear habitats in the UK which has drawn visitors from across the country.

 

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is open 10:30am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday. See www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk for details.

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