New ‘mane’ attraction at Edinburgh Zoo


EDINBURGH Zoo is offering visitors £70-a-time tickets to feed raw meat to the lions.

The ‘Carnivore Magic Moment’ package gives Big Cat fans the chance to feed Asian lions Jayendra and Kamlesh by placing meat on a feeding pole and poking it through a double-mesh fence.

It is hoped the 30-minute-long experience, will prove popular with visitors looking to get up close and personal with the carnivores.

The zoo stresses that a full safety briefing will be provided.

During the tour a keeper will talk about the history of the two lions and the importance of conservation.

They will also do a question and answer session about the Asian lions.

Other animal packages at the Zoo include the chance to feed rhinos, penguins and lemurs.

Keeper experience presenter Erika Oulton said: “The Carnivore Magic Moment is an unforgettable experience. You get to learn so much about these extremely powerful and highly endangered animals.

“During the feeding you get to see the lions’ unique personalities and truly understand their size and strength.”

The zoo has two Asian lions in its collection.

16-year-old lioness Kamlesh, 16, arrived in 2003 from Chessington World of Adventures and moved into a specially-designed four-acre enclosure that was opened in 1999.

She was joined by Jayendra, a young male from Bristol Zoo in 2011. It is hoped the two-year-old will become a mate for Kamlesh when he has fully matured.

The pair eat between 20kg and 25kg of meat at each feeding and are fed every three days.

The carnivore experience is available on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

There are only about 175 mature Asian lions left in the wild.

The Zoo was in hot water over its treatment of its Big Cats earlier this week, after visitors and experts criticised the living conditions of its endangered Amur Leopards.

Visitors raised concerns over the constant pacing of Amur leopard Skodje, who shares a 20ft by 30ft enclosure with female Zane.

One tourist from Oxford said seeing the leopards’ enclosure was “the saddest experience” of her life.

Yesterday a spokesman for the zoo said its keepers are committed to ensuring its animals’ wellbeing “and contribute to this by carrying out extensive animal enrichment to ensure they are stimulated”.