New lion for Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

The late Lider

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has welcomed a new male lion from Sweden.

Gir, a 2-year-old rare Asiatic lion, arrived last week. He replaces Lider, a 16-year-old Asiatic lion who was euthanized last summer.

Gir joins lioness Ileniya, 16, though the two felines are being kept apart at first, the Times of Israel reported.

The zoo already is searching for a mate for Gir in the hopes that they will breed.

Asiatic lions are an endangered species and at risk of extinction. Some 300 are roaming free in a sanctuary in India, with another 330 in captivity. — jta