As it prepares to open its doors to the public later this year, the first major zoo to be built in Sydney for more than a century – the oh so originally named Sydney Zoo – has welcomed the first of its exotic residents.
Bakari, Sheru, Karoo and Virunga – four lions, all brothers, raised by the Taronga Conservation Society – promise to be major drawcards, but they will by no means be the only impressive animal attractions on offer.
The first influx of fauna to arrive at the zoo, which is based in Bungarribee, 30km west of Central Sydney, also includes two cheetahs, three zebras and three hyenas – the first pack of the canine-like carnivores to ever call Sydney home.
The zoo has also received 11 chimpanzees, 13 baboons and three rare orang-utans, who will spend the next few months settling into their new environment under the watchful eyes of Sydney Zoo's expert keepers.
These initial acquisitions are just the start of a veritable stampede of native and international wildlife headed to the zoo, that once complete will feature more than 2000 individual animals. This will include endangered species that will become part of important breeding and conservation programs.
However, the precise details of what these animals are likely to be are yet to be confirmed, as is the official opening date for Sydney Zoo, although it’s expected to be before the end of 2019. Despite these mysteries, the purpose-built facility, which promises modern exhibit design, elevated boardwalks and immersive, safari-like experiences created with sustainable technologies, looks set to become one of the State’s top tourist attractions.