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Lily the lion to leave Belfast next week

Date: 31 Jul 2009

Lily the lion

This weekend is the last chance to see Lily the lion as she will leave Belfast Zoo for the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Lily rose to stardom in 2007 when she was rejected by her mother and hand reared by Zoo Keeper, Linda Frew in her family home.

Lily will spend the next part of her life in Hodonin Zoo, Czech Republic where she is to meet a 4 year-old male lion called Simon.

Zoo Manager, Mark Challis, said “The popularity of Lily at home reached celebrity status. An extra 40,000 visitors came to see Lily in 2007. She captured the imagination of the public and was painted on the lorry of a local truck driver.

Linda Frew, Keeper of Lily, said “My family and I are sad about her leaving but very pleased about her new home. We hope that she will have a family of her own when she meets a new male.

Lily has been viewed right across the world. The UTV programme ‘Living with Lily’ and The Discovery Channel programme, Baby Planet, broadcast Lily from the UK and Ireland to Europe, Australia, Asia and America.

Lily will leave behind parents, Fidda and Qays and brother Charlie. Other brother Boris departed for Olomouc Zoo, Czech Republic on 15 July. With the recent lion departures Belfast Zoo will now care for 4 Barbary lions. Barbary lions are extinct in the wild.