ENGLAND LIONESS OPENS NEW LION HABITAT AT SAFARI PARK…
West Midland Safari Park has announced that its brand-new attraction, Lion Ridge, will open this Friday and a very special guest has done the honours of cutting the ribbon.
Former England Lioness and ‘Queen of the Jungle’ from ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’, Jill Scott MBE, was invited along to officially open the new area and be one of the first to see the lions in their new habitat.
Lion Ridge, located in the pedestrianised area, ‘African Village,’ allows guests to see lions on foot for the first time in the Park’s 50-year history.
It is home to four male lions, who were all born at the Park in 2019 – brothers Hodge, Harabi and Havoc and their half-brother, Hercules.
Alongside the new habitat, four Lion Lodges will also open, offering guests the chance to sleep a whisker away from these majestic big cats.
Managing Director, Chris Kelly, said, “I’m delighted that our new lion development is ready to open to the public. The heart of this project has always been the focus to upgrade our animal housing and facilities to provide stimulating and enriching environments for the animals. We really are proud of what we’ve achieved to date in giving the wildlife here the best in welfare facilities. We hope this means they will continue to flourish and thrive in our care, and we can make a positive impact with future research and conservation both nationally and internationally.
He continued, “Ahead of opening Lion Ridge to the public on Friday, I was honoured to officially open the area alongside Jill Scott, watched by the team who have been involved in the project. With Jill holding such amazing accolades as being a former England professional footballer and winner of ‘I’m a Celebrity…’, she was the perfect person to cut the ribbon and we were delighted to have her and her family with us.”
Jill and her family stayed in one of the new Lion Lodges, which will also officially open to the public on 7 July 2023.
The new lodges are all detached, sleep up to six guests and offer fantastic views of the lions from the two bedrooms, living space and garden area.
One of the lodges is accessible and has wider doors, lowered kitchen worktops and appliances, an adapted shower room and a car parking space immediately outside the lodge.
As for the lions’ accommodation, the new lion house has been designed to exceed the standards for modern zoo practise and has been future-proofed if the dynamics of the pride change, such as if the Park wants to introduce lionesses.
As well as new housing, the lions’ habitat has been designed to be as enriching as possible, to encourage natural behaviours. It includes high vantage points, climbing stations and dens, as well as increasing biodiversity with planting, which will also provide new sights and smells for the lions.
To celebrate the opening of Lion Ridge, throughout August, the Park will be hosting a ‘Roar & Explore’ event, where families can enjoy a whole host of lion-themed activities, such as a scratch card trail, photo competition and interactive, multi-sensory explorer quest.
The lions will be viewable in Lion Ridge from Friday 7 July and the other pride can be seen in the four-mile safari. This is included in the admission charge and the best prices can be booked online in advance. Children under the age of three are free.
Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra. Admission includes a Free Return to visit again within six months, only when booking online in advance.
Further information about West Midland Safari Park is available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402114. Find out more on the Safari Park’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WestMidSafari.