An article from the gossip bulletin Popbitch made the claim on Friday, leading to intense speculation that the zoo‘s Asiatic lions are 100% safe. He said: ‘Although it’s not usually something they bother to publicize, there is a story circulating among staff at London Zoo about the lions there.
“Apparently not only are they incredibly smart, but the number of times the lions have managed to escape their enclosure and roam the premises for a decent amount of time is – as we’ve heard – ‘non-zero’ .”
Speaking to Express.co.uk this morning, media officer Rebecca Blanchard said the report was ‘completely untrue’ and ‘ridiculous’.
In a later statement, the zoo said, “Popbitch’s piece is categorically fake.”
The zoo’s Asiatic lions live in an 8,200 square foot exhibit called “Lion Land.”
READ MORE: Water meter warning: Major change as millions could be forced to install
It was officially opened by the Queen in March 2016 and is billed as a ‘breathtaking exhibition (which) transports visitors from the heart of London to India’s vibrant Sasan Gir, where they can get closer than ever to the mighty Asiatic lions”.
The zoo’s website adds: “For the first time, big cat lovers can embark on an interactive Indian adventure as they help ZSL rangers deal with a ‘lion emergency’ in Gir Forest and lend a hand to the veterinary team that comes to the rescue.
“Land of the Lions will inform, inspire and excite wildlife lovers of all ages and promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience.
Big cats are currently endangered and according to a 2020 survey, there are only 674 left in the wild.
DO NOT MISS :
“Frankly ashamed!” Andy Burnham slams CAZ critics for misrepresentation [REACTION]
A heartbroken man stayed by his wife’s body three days after being left homeless [REVEALED]
Oil price spike: Gas pumps hit record high as Putin threatens [INSIGHT]
On its website, the zoo said, “We are proud to have supported ZSL’s Asiatic Lion Campaign for over eight years, which is dedicated to protecting the last remaining lions residing as a unique population in the Gir National Forest, Western India.
“With support from Liontrust, ZSL is actively working with local partners in a variety of ways to ensure the survival of this population of just over 600 Asiatic lions.”
In addition to attracting the public, the enclosure is designed to “provide a safety net against extinction as well as the protection of the genetic viability of species”.
The zoo’s male is named Bhanu and is part of their breeding program.
He was born at Madgeburg Zoo in Germany in May 2010 and moved to Assiniboine Park Zoo in Canada with his brother Kamal when he was around two years old.
He was transferred to London Zoo in March 2016.
The 12-year-old boy’s name is Hindi for “the sun”.