Watch as lion family rescued from war-torn Ukraine finally see outside world at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

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After travelling 2,000 miles and spending weeks in rehabilitation, a pack of lions finally have a safe haven to call home

Video footage has captured the moment a family of lions were released into their reserve in Yorkshire after being saved from Russia’s bombing in Ukraine.

Mum Aysa and her three 18-month-old cubs finally got to feel the grass under their paws as they explored their new reserve at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, in Doncaster, after weeks of rehabilitation.

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Rescued from the war torn Donetsk region in Ukraine, they finally arrived at YWP in March after nine months of being held in a sanctuary in Poland. Sadly the facilities there meant the youngsters grew up separated from their mum and without seeing the sky or having the stimulation of the outside world. Now, that has changed.

Lion cubs Emi, Teddi and Santa have been released into their outdoor enclosure at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster, for the first time since arriving from Poznan Zoo, in Poland. Picture date May 7, 2024. Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife ParkLion cubs Emi, Teddi and Santa have been released into their outdoor enclosure at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster, for the first time since arriving from Poznan Zoo, in Poland. Picture date May 7, 2024. Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Lion cubs Emi, Teddi and Santa have been released into their outdoor enclosure at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster, for the first time since arriving from Poznan Zoo, in Poland. Picture date May 7, 2024. Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park | Yorkshire Wildlife Park/Dominic Lipinski

After travelling 2,000 miles across Europe the lions settled into their new Yorkshire home quickly, and mum Aysa was then reunited with her cubs.

Now all four are enjoying the outside world in the expansive reserves of Lion Country, originally built for another group of rescued lions that came from Romania and the last two of which still live at the Park.

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Colin Northcott, deputy section head of carnivores, said: “This was the moment we have all been waiting for.

“I am completely overjoyed that it has finally happened - we have been working so hard to get to this point. Mum Aysa and her cubs have all done so well with adjusting to their new home, I feel like a proud dad.

“The lions will certainly love seeing their new surroundings. I cannot wait to see them running around, playing, and enjoying new experiences such as walking on grass or seeing their reflections in the lake, as well as watching the birds flying in the sky. It will be incredible and I am sure that they will become firm favourites with our visitors.”

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