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Captive Breeding Programs
European Breeding Programme (EEP)

The EEP was established in 1990 to make a concerted effort to preserve and sustain the Asiatic Lion. This concern to maintain a pure Asiatic Lion gene pool was shown to be all to real when a report titled "Evidence for African Origins of the Founders of the Asiatic Lion SSP" by S.J. O’Brien et al. was published in Zoo Biology in 1987. The report’s authors used genetic tests to compare animals in the wild population in Gir with those in captivity. Those results confirmed that the majority of the captive population, at that time, was not pure Asiatic. As a result of the O’Brien report the SSP was effectively discontinued.


A new program was required to maintain a secure population in captivity and in 1990 the foundations of a European Breeding Programme (EEP) were laid with the receipt of four Asiatic lions (2 male, 2 female) of known purity by London Zoo from India. Zoos in Zurich and Helsinki received lions in 1991 and 1992 respectively. The program was formalized by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) in 1994, and a new studbook was established for the EEP, held at London Zoo. By the end of 1996 some 12 zoos were participating in the Asiatic lion EEP.

EEP Member Zoos: Berlin Tierpark Zoo, Bristol Zoo, Chester Zoo, Dudley Zoo, Koln Zoo, Lodzkie Zoo, Zoological Society of London, Paignton Zoo, Parken Zoo, Planckendael Dierenpark, Rhenen Zoo, Tisch Family Zoo, Twycross Zoo & Twycross Zoo Association, Zurich Zoo.

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