Good luck message from a local Lion King

THE Regent Centre at Christchurch has received a special “Good Luck” roar from the Lion King of the Isle of Wight, to celebrate the upcoming run of Disney’s new Lion King film, on screen at the art deco cinema from 9th to 15th August.

“It’s going to be a roaring success!” says 12 year old Casper, the king of the lions at Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown. Casper and his half sister Frosty have lived at the zoo, which is owned by the Wildheart Trust, since 2010, when they arrived from the West Midlands Safari Park.

Casper’s special message reads: “Hi, my name is Casper and I am the Isle of Wight Zoo’s very own Lion King. The Regent in Christchurch is my favourite cinema and I wish the team there my very best wishes for a successful run of Disney’s new summer hit, The Lion King!” – signed by Casper with his paw print.

Casper has also sent the Regent a special picture of himself with Frosty from their high spot in their enclosure overlooking the zoo, where they have a splendid view of Sandown Bay and the holiday-makers enjoying the surf, sea, sand and a Mr Softy!

The Isle of Wight Zoo is the island’s original zoo, well-loved by the local community and widely visited by residents as well as tourists. After many years in private ownership, in 2017 it become part of the Wildheart Trust. The charity, of which broadcaster and wildlife campaigner Chris Packham is a trustee, was founded to secure a long-term future for the zoo and enable it to fulfil its global ambitions to make a really meaningful impact on the health of the natural world while improving the well-being of animals in human care.

The zoo is dedicated to engaging, involving and empowering people from both the heart and the head – one of its most important tasks is to convert ‘care’ into ‘action’. It is also committed to providing a life-long, loving home to rescued big cats and other animals.

The Wildheart Trust actively funds and donates its human resources to assist with the in-situ conservation of tigers (in India), lemurs (in Madagascar) and rare moths (IOW).

The zoo sits within the ruins of a Victorian fort built to guard Sandown’s coast, and faces one of the Isle of Wight’s nicest beaches. Once upon a time the zoo owners used to walk tiger cubs on the beach – nowadays the focus is on looking after older tigers and giving them a happy retirement.