We may be closed for a while due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but that’s not going to stop the public from keeping up with the antics of Vigo and Kumba.

The two rescued lion brothers recently moved into their new accommodation which came complete with a heated sleeping area and specially reinforced full-height windows allowing the public, when the Zoo is open, incredibly privileged, face to face encounters with the king-sized duo.

From today, thanks to the donation of two web cams by Island IT company Dataswift, the lions can be viewed day or night as the cameras cover their sleeping quarters and their outside enclosure.

Lawrence Bates, The Zoo’s Head of Zoological Operations said: As well as being a fantastic for the public, the cameras are a great tool for keepers who can now keep a remote eye on the boys from the comfort of their own home.” He added: “Beware though the pastime is incredibly addictive!”

To ensure that the public is kept up to date with the Zoo during the closure, keepers will be feeding the lions at midday nearly every day so check in to the camera to catch the action. And if you miss that there will be a Facebook update every day at 2pm.

Vigo and Kumba were brought to the zoo last year after being saved 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 cruelly and painfully removed.

Since the boys’ arrival, The Wildheart Trust – which operates the Zoo – has been working on fundraising and sponsorship to develop the new supersized accommodation. That fundraising is now focussed on supporting The Wildheart Trust to continue to be able to look after the animals during the closure.

Says Lawrence “It costs £1000 a month to care for our big cats so a period with no income is daunting for us. We really need the public’s help to get through.”

The Trust has asked for donations to be made to its crowdfunding campaign which you can access through the website or at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/wildheart-trust. A donation area has been set up at the entrance to the Zoo for those that want to donate food for the animals.