At Chester Zoo, where conservation rules
and breeding programmes thrive, there are three
Asiatic lions – two females
and a male, without progeny as yet –
in the old African lion compound,
one of Zoo’s first fairly spacious
enclosures. There is sand, grass, mature trees –
reflecting the creature’s historical range
from the Euphrates to the Indus,
from the Levant to the Bay of Bengal.
They have been hunted almost to death,
and are teetering on extinction’s edge
confined to a forest in Gujarat.