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Paignton Zoo’s male Asiatic lion called Yali will soon be leaving his Devon home to join his new female partner at Fota Wildlife Park in the Republic of Ireland. Yali, who was born at Paignton Zoo in 2016, is part of an international breeding programme designed to protect and preserve the species which is officially categorised as Endangered in the wild.

Steve Nash, Head of Campaigns and Programmes at Wild Planet Trust (the charitable Trust that runs Paignton Zoo) said: “Yali will be missed by staff and visitors alike, however he plays a very important role in the breeding programme, and at six years old he is in his prime to produce offspring.”

Steve continued: “Paignton Zoo is dedicated to helping halt species decline and breeding programmes are an important part of this.”

To ensure there is genetic variation in captive populations, each species has a dedicated record called a ‘studbook’ and this includes all animals that are part of the breeding programmes and details such as their age, sex, and health conditions. The co-ordinator of the species’ studbook then makes recommendations for the pairings of animals.

Once Yali is transported to Ireland, work can begin on preparing his old enclosure for the arrival of three African lions from Newquay Zoo who are expected to arrive shortly.

Clare Rugg, Head of Conservation Services said: “the move of Newquay Zoo’s lions to Paignton has been months in the planning and we are looking forward to welcoming our three new additions which include a male lion called Boss and two females called Semira and Amahle.”

Visitors are advised that there may be a period of a week or two when no lions are on-show at Paignton Zoo. For further updates on the move ensure you follow Paignton Zoo’s Facebook page.

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