Friday 18 June 2004
Our Asian lions Abi and Ruchie are enjoying a lion's share of the sunshine
Our two Asian lions, Abi and Ruchie are doing what cats do best - spending a lot of time stretched out in the sun enjoying the heat. Come and see them on the lion terraces at London Zoo.
Our lion keepers are constantly coming up with imaginative ways to stimulate their senses and encourage them to use the full range of their natural behaviour.
"We're currently feeding them their meat mixed with herbs and hay, which they love because they have to find each piece of meat," Said Matt Hennessy, Senior Keeper.
"They really like the herbs as it stimulates their sense of smell and like all cats, they like to roll in smelly things!"
"During the hot weather we also feed them ice lollies made out of animal blood and leave scent trails around the enclosure for them to follow."
There are fewer than 300 of these critically endangered species left in the wild. At London Zoo, we keep lions as part of a very successful breeding programme, which has bred 10 lion cubs since we started in 1990. The Zoological Society of London also co-ordinates the Asian lion conservation and breeding programme for the whole of Europe.
Facts about the Asian lion
This is the lion of the Bible and of the Roman arenas where Christians met their deaths. Asian lions once ranged from Greece to India. Now there are fewer than 300 left and they are found only in the Gir Forest in India.
They have smaller manes than African lions, making the ears more visible. They also have a pronounced fold of skin along the belly and thicker hair on the tail and elbows.
Unlike African lions, male and female Asian lions seldom associate except to mate.
Their typical prey is chital deer, but they also attack livestock which brings them into conflict with local people.
Find out how you can get involved by adopting an Asian lion.