Paignton Zoo’s Asiatic lion cubs have grown up and are leaving home.

Three of the four are going to new homes across the Continent.

Neil Bemment, Paignton Zoo’s Curator of Mammals and Director of Operations: “Paignton Zoo is involved in numerous international breeding programmes. Asiatic lions are classed as Endangered – there are fewer than 400 surviving in the wild. Every cub born into the breeding programme could be one step closer to survival.”

Two male cubs and one female, all born in May 2012, are going to collections in Belgium, Poland and Germany. Paignton Zoo will be home to mother Indu and their sister Maliya.

Top zoos across Europe cooperate to manage the populations of rare species. The cubs have been assigned new homes by the coordinator of the European Studbook for the species. Male Jari has now left for Planckendael Zoo, in Belgium, with his brother Sabal heading to Krakow Zoo, Poland. Female Zarina will soon move to Frankfurt Zoo in Germany. Father Mwamba moved to Dudley Zoo last year.

Neil: “This will leave us with Indu and the other female cub Maliya. They are likely to be joined by a male from London Zoo in due course.”

Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) are threatened by hunting and habitat destruction. Fewer than 400 survive in the wild in the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary in India. There are conservation breeding programmes in zoos including a European Endangered species Programme (EEP).

The Asiatic lion is smaller than the African and has a distinctive fold of skin on the belly. Also, the Asiatic male's mane is smaller and lighter in colour.

Quotes So much to see, beautifully laid out and loads of interesting information on all the animals. Quotes