The three new lions acquired by the zoo in the eastern city of Debrecen are now visible to visitors for the first time after a quarantine lasting over a week was lifted on Friday and they were let out into their open-air enclosure.
The three young males, named Sachin, Lótusz and Szimba, were born in Budapest in 2013 but zookeepers had been struggling to provide them appropriate accomodation in the capital, supervisor István Sándor said. Debrecen Zoo accepted the three young Asian lions after it’s 20-year-old lioness Elza died in December 2014 and the second lion was reclaimed by its owner, Mr. Sándor explained.
Despite the good weather, the lions were visibly feeling the chill of the Hungarian spring, with one refusing to leave the heated building and the other two routinely returning to the cover of the warm walls.
Asian lions arrived to Debrecen Zoo for the first time in the institution’s history in March 2015. Debrecen has become the first Hungarian city outside Budapest to host the species, which is native to India.
Two of the animals are to be found a permanent home soon and the third will be joined by a female in the next three to five years.
photo: MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi