Safari park takes pride in newest trail

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A new off-road safari is bringing visitors face-to-face with a pride of lions in what is thought to be a UK first.

Managers at the West Midland Safari Park yesterday opened a track cutting through its recently opened lion enclosure in a bid to help immerse their visitors in the full safari experience.

Although off-road, director of wildlife Bob Lawrence said the track in the Realm of Lions enclosure is suitable for the average family saloon car as well as 4x4s.

The track will guide visitors in amid the pride of 13 lions, including three cubs born earlier this year: Ambush, Ailiyah and Frankel.

Mr Lawrence said the enclosure was “completely safe” but added drivers can still use the existing tarmac roadway if they wish.

He said: “It’s a pretty unique off-road experience, that does give you a real taste of Africa and it’s a pretty novel way of seeing the cat’s whiskers.”

The main £750,000 lion enclosure opened earlier this year, and is part of the seven-acre park, which features African elephants, white rhinos and rare white lions.