Release Date: Thursday 15 August 2013
It is said that moving house can be one of the most stressful events in life – and the keepers at West Midland Safari Park can certainly vouch for that. When 13 African Lions are involved, it’s not every removal firm that would be willing to take on such an immense task, but for staff at the Park it is just part of their job.
The new lion house at West Midland Safari Park is now fully functional and whilst the relocation from old to new involved meticulous planning, the move went without a hitch and the pride have settled in well.
The £500,000 state of the art accommodation marks the third and final stage of the Realm of the Lions exhibit, which was opened this year to celebrate the Parks’ 40th anniversary. The first stage was the opening of a fully landscaped reserve, with carved rockwork, waterfall and pool; followed by an off-road track that runs parallel to the tarmac drive through.
The house is a match for any new build and comes complete with central heating, air-conditioning, CCTV, intruder alarms and modern-day, open-plan living. Extras include 24-hour outside access, staff accommodation and individual lion housing.
The most innovative feature is the amount of glass that has been incorporated into the build. It is not the usual choice for a lion house and allows for perfect observation by staff. The contemporary construction sets this lion house apart from any other and the new facility at West Midland Safari Park is undoubtedly the best lion house structure in Europe.
The Park’s Creative Designer, David Powner, said, “Now that the lions have been successfully moved into their new accommodation, it marks the completion of this major three-phase project. It has been one of the largest developments that has been created in-house for many years and the entire team is absolutely delighted with the finished result”.
Lion Keeper, Phil Dixon, continued, ”It certainly is a magnificent facility and the addition of the interior glass, really does give the building a light and airy feel. The lions certainly appear to have settled in well and the staff love working in the area, too. The only thing that the staff are not so keen on is having to keep the glass clean, which they have found can only be achieved by plain, good old-fashioned elbow grease”.
A visit to the new lion house will be included as part of an exclusive package of ‘behind the scenes’ experiences. Further information on all experiences is available by phone 01299 402114