Lions Begin Journey To West Lothian Zoo

18 October 2015, 07:08 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Four lions are being transported to a zoo in Scotland from the animal sanctuary in Belgium where they have been cared for since being confiscated from a French circus.

Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, West Lothian, has raised £150,000 over the past 12 months to build a new two-acre enclosure for the male lions.

The zoo's owners have travelled to Belgium to begin the process of transporting the animals, and they are expected to arrive in the early hours of Monday.

The lions were seized by government officials there in May 2014 because the country forbids the use of wild animals in circuses.

They have been living at a rescue sanctuary ever since.

Their exact history is not known but they have all been castrated meaning they have no manes. It is thought they were born in captivity and sold to the circus at a young age.

The zoo, which was hit by a fire in 2013, has already successfully rehomed three former circus bears after launching an appeal in August 2011.

It has now constructed a large outdoor area for the lions with rocks, a waterfall, pool and platform areas and a large, heated indoor den.

Brian and Shirley Curran, owners of the Five Sisters Zoo, said they were extremely grateful to people who donated to the appeal.

They said: ''This has been an amazing and challenging journey, but we are extremely proud to have accomplished everything we set out to do and are forever grateful for the huge support from both near and far of the thousands of supporters who have helped make this possible.''

The lions will be transported to the zoo in convoy which is set to begin its journey on Sunday morning.