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The gift by the Sofia zoo has been welcomed as a rare sign of normality in a country still grappling with ethnic division and political crisis.
The lion is as yet nameless. The zoo plans to invite suggestions from the public once a new lioness arrives, but officials have yet to find the donors to pay for a trip to check prospective mates.
“Until now, our children could only see lions in the films, in cartoons,” said Kenan Memisevic, a Sarajevo resident visiting the zoo with his son after school.
“This is a big news for them,” he said, as the lion prowled behind a wall of stone and glass.
Visitor Irfana Trampa added: “The presence of such a beautiful animal in our beautiful city is a ray of hope for us, the citizens of Sarajevo.”