Lion arrive at new Doncaster home after Ukraine rescue

A lioness and her three cubs have arrived in the UK after being rescued from a Ukrainian private zoo.

Mother Aysa was pregnant with Emi, Santa and Teddi when she was abandoned in the Donetsk region after Russia's invasion.

After nine months in a holding facility in Poland, the lions were driven about 2,000 miles to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

"It's overwhelming to finally have them here with us", Colin Northcott, from the park in Doncaster, said.

The cubs have little experience of the outside world, the park said, after being held in small indoor enclosures.

The mother and young cubs were often distressed in the holding facility, it added, hissing at people who came near them.

The seven-month operation by the wildlife park to bring the lions to the UK culminated in them being unloaded on Thursday.

The lions will spend their first few weeks being rehabilitated by staff and will be out of sight from the public until they are ready to enter their new reserve.

"I can't wait until they are settled enough to walk on the grass and smell the fresh Yorkshire air," said Mr Northcott, the park's deputy head of carnivores.

"Even the language they hear will be different - I'm trying to learn a few words in Polish to make them feel more at home."

The park has a history of rescuing lions, with 13 brought to the UK in 2010 from Romania.

Original Source