This week we realised it has been an entire year since 10 year old, Scooter arrived here at Safari Zoo, as a companion for Chevelle.

Scooter came to us from Knowsley Safari Park where the rest of his pride have been rehomed across the pond in France. Female Lion Chevelle had been living alone since the sad passing of beautiful Shikar in April 2019, she was overdue a buddy!

While exciting, bringing in new residents can also come with some worry – how will they get on, will they like each other! Add to that a 200KG lion and a lioness with some serious attitude and we were all on tenterhooks, crossing everything that these two would take to each other.

The process of introducing big cats to each other is not often smooth and needs a lot of planning and patience whilst the cats adjust to each others presence, we initially let them become accustomed to each other in their indoor house where they were securely separated. They took turns in their outdoor enclosure, allowing them time to get used to each others scent and presence before they met face to face in the enclosure! Some initial wariness was soon overcome and it wasn’t long before we were snapping some adorable photos of the new homecoming King and Queen!

African Lions are now extinct in 26 African Countries and are living in just 5% of their historic range, a total remaining wild population is estimated at just 20,000 individuals distributed across 28 African countries. Alarmingly, it is understood that only six protected areas house more than 1,000 lions, meaning the remaining populations are firstly sparse, secondly unprotected and thirdly, unsecure. The IUCN Red List currently doesn't acknowledge the Lion as being under immediate threat, however, in West Africa Lions are classified as Critically Endangered and we are on the brink of seeing Lions become Endangered across their full range very quickly.