Grrreat timing!

DZG has just taken delivery of another male lion – this time in the shape of a clay sculpture of a lion’s head!

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ABOVE – New arrivals… The mane attraction Jetpur, left, and the newly-donated animal art, right

Our Curator Richard Brown collected the grrreat sculpture from the Wolverhampton home of 82-year-old Bill Dixon, who decided to donate it to DZG.

Richard said: “The arrival of the clay lion’s head is great timing as we’ve just welcomed back our male lion Jetpur, who was born here 12 years ago.

“He has returned to us after 10 years at a zoo in Mulhouse, France, and we are very proud to have him home.

“We will also make sure we find a good home for this wonderful lion sculpture which Mr Dixon has generously given us. It will go on display in the Discovery Centre for all our visitors to see.”

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Mr Dixon, pictured above with the artwork and Curator Richard Brown, ran a model shop in Dudley for 40 years before turning his hand to art at the age of 70.

The pensioner, who exhibited at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum as part of its Inspired By competition, created the lion’s head five years ago out of ceramic which he fired and glazed.

He offered Dudley Zoo the artwork after watching a documentary called Animal Architecture at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. The film focuses on the relationship between visitors, animals and buildings at our Castle Hill attraction.

Mr Dixon said: “I’ve had some good times at Dudley Zoo since about the age of seven and thought someone might like it. It’s about a foot tall and just something I enjoyed making as a hobby.”

The artist, who gained an art degree from Wolverhampton University a decade ago, has been a draughtsman and an engineer too.

He also has a public sculpture of two horses on show at the Southbank development in Horseley Fields, Wolverhampton.

Thanks, Mr Dixon, for thinking of DZG!