FOLLY Farm’s new pride of African lions are settling in well after moving down from Longleat Safari Park last week.
The Begelly adventure park and zoo took delivery of adult male lion Hugo, his mate Luna and their four cubs Sola, Zahra, Alika, and Ebele on Tuesday, July 15.
The handsome Hugo is six years-old and was born in Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside before meeting his mate Luna at Longleat. Five year-old Luna was born in Blackpool Zoo and gave birth to four cubs nine months ago.
Tim Morphew, zoo manager at Folly Farm, said: “Every day you can see them progress. When they first came in they wouldn’t get up on the tables and the cubs didn’t want to come out of the tunnel.
“To see them now all settled in and doing what lions should do is amazing. I can’t wait to get them outside.”
Rosie Badger the newly appointed lion keeper, said: “Everybody at Folly Farm was so emotional when the lions arrived, I actually shed a tear.
“After months of preparation, training and visits to Longleat it was so great to see Hugo and his family in our enclosure.”
Rosie will be looking after the lions with Shelly Hailston, who always dreamed of working with big cats.
Shelly said: “I saw my first lion at London Zoo when I was a kid and that was it, I fell in love straight away.
“I applied for a job as a zoo keeper six years ago but didn’t get it, so I worked on the funfair and did work experience as often as I could. After two years they gave me a job and as soon as Tim asked if I wanted to do carnivores, I jumped at the chance, knowing one day that would get me lions, and here they are.”
The lions will be officially unveiled on Thursday, August 7 by the Welsh Government’s business minister Edwina Hart.