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Birthday presents are all part and parcel of being one of mane attractions at Belfast Zoo

By Erinn Kerr

Published 14/09/2015

Majestic: Qays the lion
Majestic: Qays the lion
Qays the lion checking out his presents
Qays the lion checking out his presents

Qays the lion was certainly the mane man at Belfast Zoo at the weekend as he celebrated his 12th birthday.

The Barbary lion, who is the pride and joy of zoo manager Mark Challis, was showered with attention and even gift-wrapped presents by the staff on Saturday afternoon.

Qays arrived in Belfast in 2005 when he was just two years old from the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Hythe in Kent.

He was later joined by two females, Theiba and Fidda.

Since then Qays has become a firm favourite with staff and visitors, who joined in the fun on Saturday for his birthday.

Zoo manager Mark Challis said the pride were particularly special as the Barbary lion was extinct in the wild.

"We are delighted that so many people came along to celebrate the birthday of our very own Lion King, Qays."

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