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Queen and Prince Philip to meet the lions at London Zoo

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are scheduled to meet the King and Queen of the Jungle later this month as they visit London Zoo to open the new Land of the Lions exhibit.

The couple will visit the zoo on Thursday 17th March where Her Majesty will officially open the hugely anticipated exhibit which will allow the public to get closer than ever before to rare Asiatic lions.

Land of the Lions will also form a new breeding centre for a group of endangered Asiatic lions. Currently only 500 of these species remain in the wild in the Gir Forest of Western India, which is their natural habitat.

In the wild, these lions only now exist under one single subpopulation, and are at huge risk of becoming extinct.

The Queen and Prince Philip will become one of the first to view the lions in their new enclosure. They will also take the time to meet the exhibit delivery team, zoo keepers and members of a conservation group.

As she opens the enclosure, The Queen will unveil a plaque to commemorate occasion.

Land of the Lions will try and tackle the huge threat facing the species by supporting a global breeding effort, where Zoos from across the globe try to ensure the existence of the Asiatic lions continues.

London Zoo is also working closely with the Gujarat Forest Department and Wildlife Institute of India by training veterinary teams and working with forest rangers to help patrolling teams across the Gir Conservation Area.

Land of the Lions will open to the public later this month and will cover more than 2,500sqm (27,00sqft), which is five times the size of the previous lion enclosure. It has been designed to resemble the Gir Forest in India and will include an overhead walkway, re-creations of Sasan Gir train station, abandoned forts, a crumbling temple and an Indian high street.

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