Big Cat Habitat is one of our largest investments and underpins our commitment to first-class care for lions and tigers as well as our ongoing support of big cat conservation charities and organisations across the globe.
Big Cat habitat has been designed around the magnificent species that will call it home.
The layout and space encourage natural behaviour and, in addition to stimulating feeding times when food is hidden around the paddock for the big cats to hunt and find, a comprehensive enrichment programme is also in place.
A team of ten experienced and passionate keepers, headed by Section Manager Adam and Deputy Section Manager Charlotte, will constantly evaluate and evolve the cats care programmes.
Big Cat Habitat is one of the largest and most important investments ever made here at Blackpool Zoo as we continue to strive to offer first-class animal husbandry.
Swahili origin that means "kingly" or "like a king".
Khari was born in Blackpool in May 2015 and his mum Rachel died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve shortly after he had successfully been weaned. This left Khari with his father Wallace, who took over the job of rearing him. They were one of the UK's only successful coalition of male lions. Wallace sadly died in 2022 due to age-related issues. Khari was the first resident of Big Cat Habitat after returning in early May 2023. Keepers describe him as intelligent, strong and charismatic and are confident he will make an excellent pride leader.
The Hira is a mythical monster who occurs in epic and folklore tales of the Songhai people – pronounced Here-a.
Hira arrived at Blackpool Zoo in mid-May 2023 from West Midland Safari Park where she was born in September 2019. She comes from a large and dynamic pride and has been described by keepers as a gentle soul that enjoys the company of other female lions.
Aboriginal name that means “lookout"
Narla is strongly bonded with both Hira and Emma and was also born at West Midland Safari Park. During her 18 years at her birthplace, she has seen a lot of changes, from reserve upgrades, to new male lions joining and moving into a new home. Keepers describe her as resilient and tough - making her a great pride companion at Big Cat Habitat.
Derives from the Germanic word ermen meaning "whole" or "universal"
Emma is the oldest female, if only by three days, 18-year-old Emma can use her experience within a pride to assist with rearing any potential cubs in the future. Keepers say she has a strong and sometimes stubborn personality!
A girl's name of Russian origin that means "bright, shining light".
Alyona, who will be 15 in June, arrived at Blackpool Zoo in 2012 from her birthplace of Safaripark Beekse Bergen in the Netherlands to form a breeding pair with Zambar. In 2014 they became parents to two male cubs, Barney and Radzi, who were the first cubs to arrive at Blackpool Zoo in more than 18 years. As Alyona is a non-breeding female in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), she is being joined by a male to form a companion pair in the summer. Keepers describe her as a majestic and gentle tiger who likes to soak up the sunshine.
Male tiger arriving this summer to Blackpool Zoo!
We are committed to the preservation of the earth and all its inhabitants. We support wildlife conservation projects both in the UK and around the world. The aim is to safeguard the long-term future of animals by contributing significant resources towards conservation projects and working alongside local people, fellow conservation scientists, partner organisations and government agencies to achieve wildlife conservation goals.
Work here at Blackpool Zoo has supported organisations that carry out vital work with big cat species. Over £50,000 has been raised for the Wildcats Conservation Alliance and a further £20,000 has been donated to the World Land Trust.
"We continually strive to improve our facilities for our animals and this significant investment is the latest in a long line of projects that demonstrates our commitment to excellence. Both Amur tigers and African lions face many threats in the wild and we work hand in hand with in-situ conservation projects and charities across the world to raise money and awareness to help these magnificent species." - Darren Webster, Zoo Director.
Endangered animals being cared for by zoos help to raise awareness of their wild cousins and generate money for projects in their native country.
Blackpool Zoo's education, conservation and research team work tirelessly to teach people about the animals and the challenges they face in the wild.
This, in addition to allowing visitors to have a personal connection with the pride, means people will have an emotional response that will spur them on to find out more or get involved with conservation efforts.
Zoos have a long and close relationship with researchers as they are in a unique position to offer conservationists the opportunity to carry out research on the behaviours and biologies of the animals when it isn't possible to carry out studies in the wild.
Big Cat Habitat's CCTV surveillance system will also allow keepers and conservationists to monitor and research the behaviour and lifestyles of the cats as they go about their daily activities.
Blackpool Zoo's daily talks and feed programme will include regular presentations about the lions and tigers residing in the new facility.