Pride of the wildlife park

JONATHAN REDHEAD A new lion enclosure is the pride of Suffolk Wildlife Park. It is hoped the Kingdom of the Lions experience will be a roaring success like the Plains of Africa attraction which opened last year.

JONATHAN REDHEAD

A new lion enclosure became the pride of a north Suffolk wildlife park when it was officially opened yesterday.

It is hoped the Kingdom of the Lions experience at Suffolk Wildlife Park in Kessingland, near Lowestoft, will be a roaring success like the Plains of Africa attraction which opened last year.

The plains became the centrepiece of the park where rhino, giraffe, zebra, antelope and ostrich graze together as they would in the wild.

But the new £200,000 enclosure is purely for lions and sees a new king and queen introduced to the park.

Rula, a lioness who has been at Kessingland for 26 years, was moved to Banham Zoo while the enclosure was being built and on her return was greeted by two youngsters, Zero and Little Mo.

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It is hoped the three will integrate fully and soon Zero and Little Mo will become king and queen of the park and have cubs.

The old enclosure has been extended and relandscaped to a natural state.

Visitors have an upper viewing deck and a more intimate viewing area on the lower floor.

The enclosure is the latest in a series of developments planned for the park, including a new restaurant, a Discovery Education and Activity Centre, the addition of a lake and a bridge, raised undercover walkways and an extension of the Plains of Africa to more than seven acres, featuring a treetops-styled terrace restaurant.

Opening the new attraction, Martin Goymour, park director, said: "I take a long-term view and have plans for several more years yet during which we will continue to enhance Suffolk Wildlife Park for both the animals in our care and for visitors alike.

"What we have already created will be continually enhanced to achieve something here which reflects the magnificence of the surrounding landscape and which staff, visitors and the county will enjoy and will be justly proud of."

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