Rescued Ukrainian lions get acquainted with their new surroundings

The family of lions rescued from Russia’s bombing in the Ukraine was finally released into their reserve at Yorkshire Wildlife Park after several weeks of rehabilitation.

Mum Aysa and her three 18-month-old cubs finally got to feel the grass under their paws and were able explore their reserve.

Rescued from the war torn Donetsk region in Ukraine, they finally arrived at YWP  in March after 9 months of being held in sanctuary in Poland,  where due to the facilities, the youngsters grew up separated from their mum  without seeing the sky or having the stimulation of the outside world. Now, that has changed.

After travelling 2000 miles across Europe the lions settled into their new Yorkshire home quickly  and mum Aysa was then reunited with her cubs.

Now all four are enjoying the outside world in the expansive reserves of Lion Country, originally built for another group of rescued lions that came from Romania and the last two of which still live at the Park.

Colin Northcott, Deputy Section Head of Carnivores, said:” ‘This was the moment we have all been waiting for.

‘I am completely overjoyed that it has finally happened- we have been working so hard to get to this point. Mum Aysa and her cubs have all done so well with adjusting to their new home, I feel like a proud dad!

“The lions will certainly love seeing their new surroundings. I cannot wait to see them running around, playing, and enjoying new experiences such walking on grass or seeing their reflections in the lake, as well as watching the birds flying in the sky. It will be incredible and I am sure that they will become firm favourites with our visitors.’


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