Whipsnade Zoo has confirmed to KINGSnews that the iconic White Lion is strictly not for sale, after reports that a Bovingdon and Chipperfield councillor has set his sights on purchasing it.
The nearly 500ft chalk lion can be found on a slope below Whipsnade Zoo and can be seen for miles around.
In an interview with the BBC, former Dacorum mayor and councillor for Bovingdon, Flaunden and Chipperfield Gbola Adeleke revealed that he first contacted the zoo in the hopes of buying the landmark in 2019, and has since been rejected five times.
Cllr Adeleke shared concerns over how the chalk lion is cared for and is eager to take responsibility into his own hands and restore it to its “former glory”.
Whipsnade Zoo’s chief operating officer Owen Craft told KINGSnews: “We are very proud of the iconic White Lion, which has been overlooking the downs across Bedfordshire since 1933.
“It is extremely important to us and ZSL, the conservation charity behind Whipsnade Zoo, to maintain ownership of the chalk grassland landscape.
“The White Lion is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest as it is a rare and important habitat for native species, including orchids and butterflies. Whipsnade Zoo takes great care of the area, with a specific management plan in place which is approved by Natural England.
“Every Thursday, weather permitting, a team of volunteers and our horticulture department weed the White Lion. We are incredibly proud of the work of our volunteers and the team at Whipsnade Zoo and we’re confident the 147-metre-long chalk image will be fully visible by early next year.”
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