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Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife conservation is one of the three key objectives that we are aiming to achieve through the Liontrust community engagement programme

Liontrust are proud sponsors of the global conservation charity ZSL and their efforts to protect the Asiatic lion from extinction, a partnership that stretches back nearly a decade. 

Liontrust has helped to bring together a matched pair of the big cats at ZSL London Zoo’s immersive Land of the Lions exhibit. It is hoped that the pair will breed and boost the numbers of the Critically Endangered species – of which just over 600 remain in the wild. 

The iconic big cats which once roamed across Asia – from Turkey to Eastern India – are now found only in the Gir Forest in Gujarat, India. Thanks to conservation efforts, Asiatic lions were bought back from the brink of extinction and their numbers have risen slightly in the last decade, but their future is still precarious. Due to their limited range and reliance on a single habitat, Asiatic lions are particularly susceptible to disease outbreak or natural disaster.

Arya at ZSL

ZSL, through its science and conservation efforts in the field and at ZSL London Zoo, is working to ensure a future for Asiatic lions.

Five protected areas currently exist to protect the Asiatic lion in India: the Gir Sanctuary, Gir National Park and Pania Sanctuary form the Gir Conservation Area (GCA) covering an area of 20,000 km2 of forest representing the core habitat for the Asiatic lion. The other two wildlife sanctuaries, Mitiyala and Girnar, protect satellite areas within a lion’s range distance of the Gir Conservation Area. 

ZSL supports all efforts to protect Asiatic lions in the Gir and works with the Wildlife Institute of India to assist with conservation efforts – from sharing expertise to providing training for wildlife vets.

ZSL London Zoo’s flagship exhibit Land of the Lions is an immersive and engaging hub for ZSL’s Asiatic lion conservation and education efforts, and an area sponsored by Liontrust. Transporting visitors from the heart of London to India’s vibrant Sasan Gir, people can get closer than ever before to the lions, while embarking on an adventure through the Indian-inspired experience. From exploring an Indian barber shop, in the replica Sasan Gir high-street to a train-station, the exhibit truly gives visitors a sense of just how close lions and people live in India. 

Land of the Lions is home to a pair of Asiatic lions, male Bhanu and female Arya. Matched as part of the international breeding programme for endangered species, co-ordinated by EAZA’s (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) big cat specialists, the hope was that the two would breed in the future. 

Arya’s move from Paignton Zoo could not happen until the three females that previously resided at London had moved to a new home in Germany. Liontrust sponsored the moves of all four lions, including the creation of custom-made travel crates so that the precious cargo could travel in utmost comfort.

New lion cubs at London Zoo

In April 2024, Arya gave birth to three lion cubs. The cubs are a welcome addition to the international breeding programme and mark an important step towards protecting the Asiatic lion from extinction. The lions form a back-up population of the critically endangered species in an environment in which people are inspired to protect animals and where conservationists can learn both from and about animals. These learnings are shared with other zoos across the world and with conservationists in the field, who use this critical information to carry out their work in the wild. 

ZSL logo

To find out more about the Land of the Lions, please click here.