Frankfurt / Main (dpa / lhe) - lions are considered the kings of animals - in Frankfurt Zoo they should soon have more space, befitting their status. The conversion of the enclosure, which should be completed in spring 2023, started on Tuesday with the "excavator bite". In order to enlarge the area, the area of the former moat will be integrated into the outdoor area, said the Frankfurt culture department head Ina Hartwig (SPD). The size of the facility could be more than doubled from the previous 500 square meters to over 1000 square meters. In the future, there will be insights into the world of lions on three levels.
Investments of 1.8 million euros are planned for the construction project, of which the city will assume 1.5 million. "There are no off-the-shelf animal enclosures designed appropriately for the species - especially not for big cats of prey," emphasized Hartwig.
The redesign should not only be attractive to visitors, but also meet the requirements for breeding lions as part of conservation breeding programs, said zoo director Christina Geiger. If necessary, the outdoor area can be separated into two separate areas in the future.
According to Geiger, Asiatic lions are critically endangered. While around 150 animals live in zoos worldwide, only around 600 are still in their homeland in an Indian state. In view of the comparatively small area, a devastating natural event such as a large fire could threaten the entire species, said Geiger.