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First look at new Indian temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo

First look at temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo. Credit: ZSL London Zoo

A new temple-theme lion exhibit has opened to the public at London Zoo after it was opened by Queen.

The Indian-inspired Asiatic lion exhibit includes three walkways over the 2,500sqm display, as part of the zoo's long-term Asiatic lions conservation campaign.

First look at temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo. Credit: ZSL London Zoo

As visitors enter the crumbling ruin of an amphitheatre-style 360° Temple Clearing, the majestic big cats will roam just metres away, separated only by fine wires.

First look at temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo. Credit: ZSL London Zoo

London Zoo said it was created to transport visitors from the heart of London to the vibrant setting of Sasan Gir in India and covering an expanse of 2,500sqm visitors will enter through a grand stone archway, before picking up their 'park pass' at the Gir Tourist Information centre.

First look at temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo. Credit: ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo's designers visited the lions' wild home in the Gujarat state in India for inspiration and ideas, and worked with members of London's Gujarati community to ensure the exhibit lives up to the land it emulates.

First look at temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo. Credit: ZSL London Zoo

Rickshaws, bicycles, sacks of spices, maps, rangers' huts, and even a life-size truck - researched, sourced and shipped from India - are dotted around Land of the Lions, both inside and out of the lions' domain, highlighting the uniquely-close proximity in which Asiatic lions live with people in their native Indian habitat.

First look at temple-themed lion exhibit at London Zoo. Credit: ZSL London Zoo

To find out more about ZSL London Zoo's Land of the Lions exhibit and the Zoo's conservation campaign to help protect Asiatic lions, visit www.zsl.org/lions