Lions rescued from war-torn Ukraine move into new reserve at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

  • Pictures from Yorkshire Wildlife Park

A family of lions rescued from bombing in Ukraine is being released into their new home after several weeks of rehabilitation.

Mum Aysa and her three 18-month-old cubs Emi, Santa and Teddi were saved from the war-torn Donetsk region in Ukraine after the private zoo where the pregnant lioness was being kept was abandoned as Russian forces advanced. She later gave birth to the cubs in a sanctuary in Kyiv.

After nine months living in a holding facility at Poznan Zoo in Poland where the cubs were separated from their mother and unable to go outside, the family were reunited again in March after arriving at Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster.

Now, all four will be moving into the Lion Country reserve at the park after undergoing rehabilitation following the journey across Europe.

The four lions were reunited at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in March. Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

The Lion Country reserve was originally built for another group of rescued lions that came from Romania, the last two of which still live there.

The park's deputy head of carnivores, Colin Northcott, said: "I am completely overjoyed that this is finally happening, 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," he said.

"It will be incredible, and I am sure that they will become firm favourites with our visitors.’

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