THE Isle of Wight Zoo has a special Christmas gift planned for two rescue lions, brothers Vigo and Kumba.

Together with the Wildheart Trust charity, the zoo has appealed for donations towards a new lion house.

Vigo and Kumba arrived at the Sandown zoo in March after they were rescued from a Spanish circus.

Rather than swap presents, the zoo has asked people to make a donation instead.

Chief executive Veronica Chrisp said: "It’s a terrific way for people to treat the lions while letting the recipient know money that might normally be spent on mass produced material gifts is instead helping a unique and worthy cause.

"Of course there will still be something lovely for the recipient to open on Christmas Day — a special thank you card from the lions and an invitation to visit them for free in the new year.

"Vigo and Kumba have a long wish list this Christmas so there are plenty of items lionhearted gifters can help with.

"A donation of £50 would buy a feeding bowl or two enclosure posts, while £100 would pay for vaccinations for a year."

The brothers' new lion house, which is nearing completion, features supersized doorways and sleeping space to accommodate their extraordinary size.

It has been built by Willmott Dixon, which donated skills and labour to significantly reduce the cost.

The zoo is now fundraising for the fittings, equipment and care that will give the lions the best possible home.