Sonika - The Big Cat Sanctuary


Panthera Leo/LionEndangered

Interesting facts about Sonika

  • Sonika arrived at The Big Cat Sanctuary on March 3rd 2023 from Bristol Zoo with partner Sahee
  • She was born on the 25th May 2016 at Cotswold Wildlife Park in the UK
  • Sonika and Sahee are the first Asiatic lions to ever live at the Sanctuary
  • The couple are sharing the enclosure which is adjoining the welcome centre conservatory
  • Sonika has settled well since their arrival at the Sanctuary, she has been seen outside exploring her new surroundings with Sahee
  • Sonika weighs 148kg currently, she is a stunning lioness with beautiful colouring and features

Sonika's story

Sonika the Asiatic lioness arrived at the Sanctuary with male partner Sahee in March 2023. They are currently a non-breeding pair, but we hope that, with all requirements and needs met, they will be able to support the captive breeding programme for the Asiatic lion with a breeding recommendation in the future. We know this fabulous couple will be incredible ambassadors for the lesser known Asiatic lion sub-species.

The two lions travelled well and settled into their new environment very quickly. Sonika was a little more reserved than Sahee at first, but this was to be expected. She has already within a week been seen outside relaxing with her partner.

The Sanctuary has high hopes for this awesome pair in the future!

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About Asiatic lions

The Asiatic lion is also known as the Persian lion. It is a population of Panthera leo leo that survives only in the wild only in India. Since the turn of the 20th century, its range is known to be restricted to Gir National Park and the surrounding areas in the Indian state of Gujarat. This population has grown in recent years and is now heavily protected.

Historically, their numbers are thought to have dwindled to as low as just a few dozen in the 1880s. Asiatic lions are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List (vulnerable) and their population is now up to 523 per the census carried out in 2015.

IUCN Red List Category Endangered(EN)

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