The concept of an African Plains area within the park was part of the original collection plan in early 2009. African lions were selected instead of the more endangered Asiatic (Panthera leo persica) for consistency with this theme and to support size the education, interpretation and conservation of African animals. In mid 2009, motivated by a desire to improve the welfare of a group of lions in a Romanian zoo, we took the decision to move thirteen lions from their cramped, substandard conditions to the Park. (see fig 1.1)
Nationwide publicity including a thirty minute BBC programme covering the lion rescue helped raise £150,000 of the total £250,000 needed for the project. The new 26,015m2 enclosure was designed to hold three prides with a 3,292m2 lake dividing the three areas and a 4m high fence with electric overhang encompassing the enclosure. (see fig 1.2) Landscaping means the fencing is below the visitor’s eye line for the majority of the exhibit as they walk on a 694m raised walk way which crosses the bridge spanning the lake. (see fig 1.3)
Necessary veterinary treatment including measures to prevent breeding has been undertaken including an extensive MRI scan on a young male with spinal problems. A study on the lion’s rehabilitation is being carried out and two further studies are being planned to assess the extent to which stereotypic behaviour has reduced.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Award 2011 for Best New Zoo Enclosure