While people are busy decorating their homes for the festive period, Isle of Wight Zoo in Hampshire has come up with a novel way for people to help with the finishing touches for a special new lion house built to home rescued brothers Vigo and Kumba.

The zoo is appealing for people to make a donation towards much needed items as a socially conscious gift for a loved one or friend this Christmas.

“It’s a terrific way for people to treat the lions while letting the recipient know that money that might normally be spent on mass produced material gifts is instead helping a unique and worthy cause,” said the Zoo’s CEO Veronica Chrisp.

“Of course there will still be something lovely for the recipient to open on Christmas Day – a special thank you card from the lions and an invitation to visit them for free in the new year.”

Vigo and Kumba have a long wish list this Christmas so there are plenty of items that lionhearted gifters can help with. For example, a donation of £50 would buy a feeding bowl or two enclosure posts; £60 buys a water fountain; and £100 would ensure one of them is fully vaccinated for the year. Please click this link to access the list of required items Christmas List 2019, any contribution towards the cost of these items would be gratefully received. Anyone wanting to find out more should call the zoo on 01983 403883 or email enquiries@isleofwightzoo.com.

Many will remember the lion brothers made headlines last year after being rescued from a Spanish Circus where they spent most of their lives cooped up together in a lorry trailer. When they were young they were neutered, beaten and their claws were cruelly and painfully removed.

Thanks to supporters, The Wildheart Trust was able to offer the pair sanctuary so that their story can have a happy ending with them living out their days at the Isle of Wight Zoo. Their soon to be ready new house has been specially created with supersize doorways and sleeping space to accommodate the lions’ extraordinary size. Construction company Willmott Dixon generously donated their skills and labour for the design and build of the new house which has significantly reduced the cost of the project for the zoo. Now it can focus on fundraising for the fittings, equipment and care that will give the lions the best possible lifetime home.