Lions off to a new life

Woburn Safari Park's three male African lion cubs have bade farewell to their pride and their keepers, as they prepare to embark on an exciting new life.

Tsavo, Jengo and Jelani have been moved to an all-female pride at West Midlands Safari Park in Worcestershire, where they can establish a new family group of their own.

The male cubs were very calm as Woburn Safari Park’s keepers encouraged them into their transport crates and carefully loaded them on to a trailer for transportation.

They will soon be on view to the public in the Realm of the Lions reserve.

Born in September 2014 to lioness Dakota, the playful boys have spent their formative years growing up at Woburn Safari Park. Their age and adventurous spirit makes now the right time for them to move on to their new pride.

Acting head of carnivores, Craig Lancaster, said: “We have all really enjoyed caring for Dakota’s cubs, but at 17 months old the males are ready to forge their own paths.

“In the wild, upon reaching maturity or at adolescence, males would be pushed out of the pride to go and find new territories of their own.

“As these cubs share the same bloodline with other females in the pride, the move is important to prevent in-breeding and promote healthy populations of this species in captivity.

“Hopefully, the three boys will settle in well and enjoy exploring their new home.”

African lions are classified as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction in the wild, mainly due to habitat loss and hunting.

Wildlife collections play an important role in ensuring there are healthy populations living in captivity, in case reintroduction into the wild should one day become a necessary conservation activity.

Mum Dakota and the boys’ sisters, Zuri and Kamara, will remain behind in the pride at Woburn Safari Park and can be seen in the Kingdom of the Carnivores section of the Road Safari.