Whipsnade’s famous White Lion landmark gets a clean-up thanks to posse of volunteers

Vegetation was threatening to obscure the iconic chalk lion on Dunstable Downs
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Volunteers have helped to clean the iconic white lion at Whipsnade as part of the Big Help Out to mark His Majesty the King’s coronation.

Whipsnade Zoo was delighted to offer members of the community a chance to help care for the much-loved local landmark, which had begun to fade into the landscape as vegetation encroached on its chalk surface.

Twenty volunteers helped to weed the head of the lion, which was designed by R.B. Brook-Greaves and constructed in 1933.

Volunteers hard at work on Dunstable DownsVolunteers hard at work on Dunstable Downs
Volunteers hard at work on Dunstable Downs

The lion forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and so environmentally friendly products must be used to clean it, in order to protect the native plants and animals in the vicinity.

Volunteer advisor Sara Nicholas said the event was a great success.

She said: “It was fantastic to see so many people eager to care for the White Lion. The White Lion is such an iconic local landmark which is beloved by so many in the surrounding local community and here at Whipsnade Zoo.”

And she added: “We hope Monday’s Big Help Out will inspire people to continue volunteering at Whipsnade Zoo. Volunteers play a vital role at the UK’s largest zoo from greeting our visitors, to helping zookeepers care for animals, as well as taking

The Whipsnade lion from the airThe Whipsnade lion from the air
The Whipsnade lion from the air

part in citizen science programmes.”

Whipsnade Zoo will continue to carry out regular deep cleans and maintenance on the 147-metre-long chalk image, and is keen to organise more volunteer events in the future to help with its weeding and maintenance.

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