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Lord Mayor opens New Kingdom at Belfast Zoo!

Date: 8 August 2023

Lord Mayor opens New Kingdom at Belfast Zoo!

Belfast Zoo supports several conservation projects, and recently added to their list. is devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 species of wild cats, including lions, and the vast ecosystems they inhabit. Alyn Cairns, Zoo Manager, said, “We are delighted to provide this fantastic new home for our Barbary lions.  Most people think of lion habitat as savannah, but in fact, lions have lived in a variety of habitats. The new habitat includes 16 from ground glass viewing windows, the largest lion glass viewers in Europe, giving the lions a view of their whole kingdom along with providing visitors with an up-close lion encounter! It’s also an excellent location for fantastic panoramic views of Belfast and the Lough.”Barbary Lions in their new enclosure

Belfast Zoo is home to three barbary lions, Qays, the male of the pride, and his two female companions Thheiba and Fidda. The pride travelled from their birthplace at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park and arrived at Belfast Zoo in August 2005. Alyn Cairns, Zoo Manager, said “The barbary lion is an iconic species facing extreme threat. Barbary lions are extinct in the wild, and there are fewer than 92 Barbary lions left in zoos across Europe. Over the years, as part of a global and collaborative breeding programme, our pride has produced over 8 cubs, a great achievement to ensure the future survival of this magnificent species.”

Belfast Zoo is home to 110 different species, many of which are facing increasing risk of extinction in their natural habitat. Alyn Cairns, Zoo Manager, said “We constantly work towards improving our facilities for our animals, and this new initiative is evidence of that.  This is the first in a variety of proposed projects which we hope will come to fruition in the future. We are committed to maintaining the highest standard in animal welfare and to improving our visitor experience. It took a team effort to make our vision of the new lion habitat a reality. I am very proud of what we have achieved, and I want to congratulate and thank all involved.”

Belfast Zoo is open every day, 10am – 6pm with last admission at 4.30pm. Admission can be booked online at