We’re delighted to announce that plans are now firmly underway to bring our African lion, Khari, back to Blackpool from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
You will notice he does look a little different from when he left us. Before he embarked on his journey down south, he was given a contraceptive insert to prevent him from breeding - this can sometimes cause a temporary loss of mane due to reduced testosterone.
The implant has now been removed in readiness for him to be joined by his very own pride of females, shortly after he returns. His mane has already started to grow back and it should be fully grown in the next six months.
Keepers at Whipsnade Zoo have done an excellent job in caring for him and have really enjoyed working with him. Our own keepers have been getting regular updates and have visited Khari numerous times.
Predator Team Leader at Whipsnade Zoo, Sarah McGregor, said “We were delighted to temporarily care for Khari at our conservation zoo and will be sad to see him leave – but we know how much he’s been missed and wish him all the best with his new pride at Blackpool Zoo.
“During the short time he has spent at Whipsnade, we’ve discovered just how intelligent, strong, and charismatic Khari is, and we have every confidence he will be an excellent pride leader.”
The new £1.5m big cat facility is nearing completion and Khari is set to return in May, with his new pride joining him shortly after; they will then be given time to be introduced and settle in, before opening to the public.
Alyona, our female Amur tiger will also be returning shortly after.