How to tell our Asiatic lions apart

by ZSL on

Head of the pride

Our most recent arrival to the lions is male Bhanu, who joined us all the way from Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada, and follows in the in the pawprints of Winnie the bear who came to London in 1914 and was the inspiration for AA Milne’s children’s book Winnie the Pooh.

Being the only male in our pride, Bhanu is easy to tell apart from our three girls with his large and handsome mane. He’s also quite a talkative lion, so be sure to listen out for his deep rumbling chatter when wandering around Zoo.

Bhanu Asiatic lion

Our girls

Telling our three beautiful ladies apart is where things start to get difficult. Our two youngest lionesses, Heidi and Indi are almost identical but there’s one small give away, and that’s the tell-tale freckles just above Indi's whiskers, as well as the large black freckle on her left cheek. While having a close bond with Heidi, Indi is not as confident as her two sisters so can sometimes be spotted off on her own while Rubi and Heidi explore together.

Indi Asiatic lion
Indi is one of the youngest of our females

Sister Heidi is the lightest in colour of our three lionesses, which is a great way to tell her apart from the others. She's also the boldest and most social of our three girls, so can often be heard roaring. Heidi shares a close bond with both her sisters, but does spend a lot of time grooming Rubi, so if you see two lions off together, it's likely to be that pair.

Heidi the Asiatic lion
Heidi is known to roar

While similar in looks to Indi and Heidi, Rubi is the biggest of our three girls and also the darkest in colour but she's also the shyest. You'll nearly always spot her doing her own thing, sunbathing or looking on at her sisters mucking about and having fun. Our eldest sister also has a slightly saggier belly than the other two.

Rubi Asiatic lion
Rubi is the darkest in colour of our three girls

Book london zoo tickets now

Find out more about great days out at ZSL London Zoo #Zoolife

Select a blog

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!

Conservation

We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.

Science

From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Education

A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Working for Wildlife

Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About Magazine

Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

ZSL Shop

Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Nelson's Island Expedition

ZSL Institute of Zoology researchers are embarking on an exciting fieldwork expedition to Nelson’s Island in the Chagos Archipelago. Throughout the month, the team will share their research and experiences on an uninhabited tropical island!

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.