Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 17:03 UK

Lion pride grows at safari park

The lion pride is expected to be the main attraction to the safari park

A safari park on Merseyside is celebrating a roaring success after rearing a record number of lions.

The pride at Knowsley Safari Park now has more than 20 lions - the biggest number in its history - after a dozen were born in the past year.

General manager David Ross said the cats had been the essence of the park since it opened in 1971.

Three white rhino calves and a dozen ostriches have also been born at the site in the last year.

This year will be the first full season for Knowsley's new £600,000 sealion enclosure and for the park's free-roaming group of marmoset monkeys.

Park officials are also embarking on a meerkat breeding programme.

But despite the other additions, Mr Ross said: "I'm sure that the sheer number of lions we now have in the Knowsley pride will prove to be the biggest wow factor of the summer."

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