SPAIN’s most famous lions have made their long-awaited return to the wild.

After a two-year absence, the Alhambra’s famous Patio of Lions are now back in their natural habitat.

The 12 marble lions were removed as part of a restoration project to scrape away the calcium carbonate, black fungus and algae which had built up on their manes since the 14th century.

“Everything points to the fact that they were made by a different craftsman.”

However, this seemingly mundane technique has uncovered a few secrets about the pride in the process.

For the experts charged with the taxing job have discovered that each lion – given its own individual pet name – was carefully sculpted by a different craftsman.

“Their tails are all of varying length. Also, their profiles and weights are completely different,” said Director of the Alhambra Board of Trustees, Maria del Mar Villafranca.

“Everything points to the fact that they were made by a different craftsman.”

“None of them are the same, they all have their own characteristics.”

The studies also date the birth of Félix, Melanie, Olivia, Rey Gudú, Calimero and co back to between 1362 and 1391 – they were fashioned by order of Muhammed V.

The Olive Press previously reported that the restoration efforts had revealed graffiti etched into the lions in 1831 by British author and hispanist Richard Ford.

The process has demanded a great deal of coordination, time and money.

Just hoisting the lions from their home in the Nazarí palace to a building close to the Generalife gardens is said to have cost more than half a million euros.

But now finally, all 12 of them are back on the prowl.

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