Past members of the Lion Pride at Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, Rotorua.


Lions can live into their early twenties in captivity, compared to maybe half of this in the wild where life can be considerably harder.

HANA - 5th March 2007 to 12th April 2022

Hana was one of the most dominant lioness at Paradise.

Her coat colour was very dark.

Hana was a very good mother and had a great relationship with her adult offspring.  Lionesses will usually feed their cubs for 6-12 months, but Hana fed and cared for hers for a lot longer.

Sadly she passed away from a type of bone cancer in her knee.











BORN: 2nd August 2011.

Left Paradise for Pouakai Zoo in New Plymouth in December 2021.

Nicknamed Ben Junior, he is named after his father Ben who left the park before he was born.

Benji mostly has a placid and gentle nature, and is one of the only males that will hardly ever growl while being handfed.

Being a male lion, the lionesses generally show him respect and get out of his way at feeding times. The only one who is not afraid to push the limits with him is his littermate Bella, which she does regularly and much to Benji's dismay. Littermates always have a tight-knit relationship throughout their lives and Benji and Bella are very close.


BORN: 21st February 2012.

Left Paradise for Pouakai Zoo in New Plymouth in December 2021.

Aleekah is a quite a dominant lioness.

She has always had a very close relationship with her mother Luca, much more so than her sister Ayla.

She does not get on with older sister Hana at all. Aleekah started challenging Hana for her place in the pride hierarchy when she was only two years old, which Hana opposed, and the two have never gotten along since.



BORN: 21st February 2012.

Left Paradise for Pouakai Zoo in New Plymouth in December 2021.

Ayla is our smallest lioness.

She is a real sweetheart and has a lovely relaxed nature.

She doesn't like conflict, and although she is confident, she tends to stay away from any aggression at feeding time. For this reason you will notice she doesn't have many scars on her face.

The rare times that Ayla is ever aggressive is when she is really hungry. Normally a placid and quiet lioness, she will fight off any lions that come anywhere near her during this time, including the males, and they all know to keep well away if she is grumpy.

MAX - 1st February 2000 to 31st July 2019

Unfortunately we have had to say goodbye to our Lion King, Max. He was the eldest male lion we were privileged to have at Paradise reaching the impressive age of 19 years old. He was a fair and respected leader for all of his adult life and he has left a huge hole in the pride.

Despite being in charge of the pride from a young age, Max had a fairly calm disposition and was not overly aggressive for a male lion. Due to Max being so placid, he was actually the first lion we would introduce all of our cubs to. He was very patient with them, and had to put up with them investigating his mane for the first time and climbing all over him.

Max had a very close bond with lioness Ryo who passed away in 2017 aged 22 years. He is buried next to Ryo and overlooking his pride.


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64 7 348 9667
467 Paradise Valley Road, Rotorua 3072, New Zealand