King of the beasts arrives at London Zoo
Monday 1 November 2004
London Zoo has a new arrival in the form of an Asiatic lion called Lucifer. Our magnificent male has been given his devilish name, as when he was born his registration number was 666 – the mark of the beast
Lucifer is two years old and has come from Cotswold Wildlife Park as a potential breeding male for our younger female lion, Abi. He weighs in at an impressive 120kg, and still has some growing to do! Asiatic lions generally possess a shorter mane than the African lion and also have a distinctive fold of skin along their belly.
"It is really exciting for us to have a male lion at London Zoo, as it means that we ensure our continued success as part of the European Conservation Breeding Programme," said Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Head Keeper of big cats.
With as few as 300 Asiatic lions remaining in the wild, the species is highly endangered and faces a real risk of extinction. Although once widespread through Southeast Asia, the only remaining Asiatic lions outside of captivity reside in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and adjacent National park in Northwestern India. Lucifer has come to London Zoo as part of a vital European Breeding Programme to help conserve this remarkable species.
Lucifer the lion
- London Zoo is currently home to three Asiatic lions – two females, Abi and Ruchi and our male, Lucifer
- The last lion cubs born at London Zoo, were born on 16 January 1999, Abi still lives at London Zoo
- The Asiatic Lion's scientific name is Panthera leo persica
- The Romans used the Asiatic lion in their arenas for executing Christians and prisoners and other 'sport'
- A fully-grown male lion can weigh up to 250kg and females up to 180kg
- A typical diet of the Asiatic lion in the wild consists of deer, antelope, boar and buffalo
- Much is still unknown about the structure of the lions in Gir, however it is thought the male lions tend to be less involved in pride life than African lions