Animals & Attractions

There are five Asiatic lions here at Edinburgh Zoo -Jayendra, Roberta, Mitaali, Keshari and Kushanu.

Jayendra, or Jay our male, was born in 2010 and moved here in 2012 from Bristol Zoo, Roberta, our female, was born in 2013 and arrived in 2014 from a zoo in Germany. 

In August 2019, Roberta gave birth to Mitaali, Keshari and Kushanu. The cubs were named in tribute to the Gir forest in western India where the species is found. 

You can help feed and care for our lions and other threatened animals around the world by donating today - if you can, please support our Survival Fund.

Fun facts!

  • Asiatic lions are only active for about 4 hours a day, they spend the rest of their time sleeping or at rest
  • They are slightly smaller than African lions and the males don’t develop such a substantial mane
  • Lions live in a group called a pride with all of the lionesses hunting together to overpower their prey
  • Males hardly ever hunt but will help if they are pursuing a large, aggressive animal. Regardless of whether the male has helped or not, he always gets to eat first!

How we're helping

There were once large populations of Asiatic lions across southwest Asia but today only an estimated 600-650 remain in the wild. Since they now exist as an isolated population in India’s Gir Forest the species is vulnerable to many threats from unpredictable events such as forest fires or epidemics, as well as poaching, habitat destruction, conflict with humans and declining numbers of prey animals.

Our lions are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Roberta was matched with resident male Jay through the EEP due to her genetic characteristics. It is very important to conserve the genetics of the species, increasing the possibility of future generations being reintroduced into the wild.

We work with the EEP and other conservation breeding programmes to improve the molecular genetic management of captive populations to support breeding reintroduction efforts for threatened species.

Find out more about our work in applied conservation genetics. 

Get free visits and much more!

Become an RZSS member and receive a whole host of benefits while helping to care for animals around the world.

Can you support our Survival Fund?

Every month, we need thousands of pounds just to feed and care for the animals you love. If you can, please help your zoo survive long into the future by giving a donation today.

Get our latest offers, animal stories & event news straight to your inbox!