Mane attraction: Endangered Asiatic lion can now be seen at Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park

Six-year-old Yali arrived at Fota Wildlife Park earlier this month and has undergone routine acclimatisation to his new habitat in the Asian Sanctuary.
Mane attraction: Endangered Asiatic lion can now be seen at Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park has announced that a new male Asiatic lion, who recently arrived from Paignton Zoo in the UK, can now be seen by visitors. Photo: Darragh Kane

Fota Wildlife Park has announced that a new male Asiatic lion, who recently arrived from Paignton Zoo in the UK, can now be seen by visitors.

Six-year-old Yali arrived at Fota Wildlife Park earlier this month and has undergone routine acclimatisation to his new habitat in the Asian Sanctuary and gradual introduction to the two female lionesses, Gira and Gita.

The wildlife park anticipates that Yali will form a new pride at Fota Wildlife Park as part of the ex-situ European endangered breeding programme (EEP) for Asiatic lions.

Fota Wildlife Park has announced that a new male Asiatic lion, who recently arrived from Paignton Zoo in the UK, can now be seen by visitors. Photo: Darragh Kane
Fota Wildlife Park has announced that a new male Asiatic lion, who recently arrived from Paignton Zoo in the UK, can now be seen by visitors. Photo: Darragh Kane

The lionesses, Gira and Gita, are sisters, are both aged eight, and came from Helsinki Zoo in Finland in the summer of 2016.

Gira gave birth to two litters with the previous male lion, Shanto, who sadly died from kidney failure earlier this year.

The Asiatic lion is classified as endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and inhabits only one remaining site in the world, the Gir Forest in India.

This means that wildlife parks and zoos play a crucial role in safeguarding the species.

The current population in the Gir Forest is estimated to be in the region of just 500 to 600 lions.

Lead ranger at Fota, Julien Fonteneau, said the wildlife park is delighted to introduce Yali to the public.

“He’s spent the last two weeks slowly getting used to his new surroundings and the lionesses.

“Last night we were thrilled to hear him roaring, which means he’s much more comfortable and feeling territorial in his new habitat.

“The lionesses have both been trying to woo him, but he’s not paying them much heed, and we’re all hoping that will change as he’s been recommended to breed, so hopefully, he will show interest in them!

Six-year-old Yali arrived at Fota Wildlife Park earlier this month and has undergone routine acclimatisation to his new habitat in the Asian Sanctuary and gradual introduction to the two female lionesses, Gira and Gita. Photo: Darragh Kane
Six-year-old Yali arrived at Fota Wildlife Park earlier this month and has undergone routine acclimatisation to his new habitat in the Asian Sanctuary and gradual introduction to the two female lionesses, Gira and Gita. Photo: Darragh Kane

“He’s not as big as Shanto was, he still has a bit of girth and muscle to put on, and his mane is still growing and will fill out more as he becomes part of the new pride,” Mr Fonteneau continued.

Fota Wildlife Park opened the Asian Sanctuary in 2015, now home to some of Asia’s most endangered species, such as the Indian rhino, the Sumatran tiger, the Red panda and the Asiatic lion.

For more info see www.fotawildlife.ie.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more