The First Animals Have Arrived at Sydney Zoo, the City’s First Major Zoo to Open in 100 Years

Lions, orangutans, baboons, cheetahs and hyenas now call the Western Sydney Africa precinct home.

The dulcet tones of lions roaring and chimps screeching will become the new norm in Western Sydney. The first animals have moved into the new Sydney Zoo in Blacktown – the first major zoo to be built in the city for more than 100 years.

The zoo’s African precinct, which will immerse visitors in a safari-like experience, has welcomed more than 40 beasts from some of the world’s most respected facilities to give them time to settle into their new environment before the zoo opens late this year.

(Image from Sydney Zoo)

Lions Bakari, Sheru, Karoo and Virunga have been brought over from the Taronga Conservation Society, and hyenas Enzi, Etana and Endesha have travelled from Singapore Zoo to Blacktown. Other newbies include orangutans Santan, Maimunah and Dewi, who have come from Melbourne Zoo, as well as two cheetahs, three zebras, 11 chimps and 13 baboons.

When it opens, Sydney Zoo will have more than 2000 native and exotic animals roaming its grounds. Hidden barriers, boardwalks and water features will help create an immersive, safari-like experience for visitors. Established by Sydney Aquarium founder John Burgess and his son Jake, the zoo will also support local and international conservation efforts. It will house a number of endangered species from around the globe, and undertake on-site breeding programs to increase their numbers.

The zoo is being built with sustainable materials and will use a solar power network, and recycle storm-water run-off to fill moats and water gardens. It will also compost all animal and food waste and use biodegradable cornstarch packaging. Plus, the zoo has worked with the local Darug people to offer a natural heritage program led by Aboriginal guides.

Sydney Zoo’s new arrivals come almost 18 months after the facility settled a dispute with Taronga Zoo over its name. Taronga attempted to stop Sydney Zoo from registering its name as a trademark, arguing it would mislead people into thinking the zoo was in Sydney’s CBD, not 33 kilometres west of it. It was also concerned visitors and locals would confuse Sydney Zoo with its own facility, which has been Sydney’s only major zoo for more than 100 years. In May last year, though, the two parties settled their differences out of court.

Sydney Zoo is slated to open late this year.
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Sydney Zoo announces the establishment of the Sydney Zoo Foundation, along with its first initiative to support Science for Wildlife

Sydney Zoo is proud to announce the creation of the Sydney Zoo Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established to lead the conservation and sustainability objectives of the Zoo.

The first initiative of the Sydney Zoo Foundation will be to provide financial support and resources to Science for Wildlife’s Blue Mountains Koala Project. The Sydney Zoo Foundation, in partnership with the Ivany Foundation and the Ottomin Foundation, is making an initial donation of $100,000 with funds to be directed towards rehabilitation and recovery efforts in the Blue Mountains, following the recent bushfires.

Science for Wildlife began studying the Blue Mountains koala population in 2014 following the 2013 bushfires. In 2014 koalas were spotted in this region for the first time in decades. With very little known about the Blue Mountains koala population, Science for Wildlife began studying their ecology to understand which habitats the koalas use and identify the threats they face. The research team discovered that koalas from this region are the most genetically diverse in Australia, making them incredibly important to the survival of the species. With the bushfires impacting around 75% of koala habitats in the Blue Mountains region, Science for Wildlife is now focusing its resources on the rehabilitation and recovery of the species.

Executive Director, Science for Wildlife, Dr Kellie Leigh (PhD) says, “Without these funds, many of the animals located in the World Heritage Blue Mountains region would remain vulnerable. These funds will make an immediate and meaningful impact, helping us to keep animals alive that have survived the fires. We need to achieve scale with the water stations, quickly, and this support makes that possible”

“These funds will be used to construct and deploy 60 large water towers, as well as supporting our camera trap project which aims to check where koalas and other species are using the water stations, so that we can target efforts to help koala populations recover over time,” she continued.

The Sydney Zoo Foundation Director Jake Burgess says “With one of the country’s most genetically diverse koala populations it is extremely important to conserve koalas in this local region and do all that we can to make a difference. To be partnered with an organisation that is making a significant contribution to our local community is an exciting first initiative for the Sydney Zoo Foundation”

The Sydney Zoo Foundation urges the public to support the partnership with Science for Wildlife by helping them reach their donation target of $50,000, which will help provide more water stations and food drops in key areas for threatened species. Donations can be made at


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Zachary Pittas
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Brand New Sydney Zoo Commences Construction

Work has officially commenced on the construction of the new $45 million Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney Parklands today with a ground breaking ceremony at Bungarribee Park.

The world-class 16.5-hectare attraction plans to open in early 2019 following 13 months of construction and will feature over 30 exotic exhibits featuring animals such as lions, tigers, bull sharks, cheetahs, and gorillas as well as an extensive range of native Australian animals.

Sydney Zoo Managing Director Jake Burgess says the Zoo is the first of its kind in Australia, with a strong focus on animal welfare and world leading exhibit design to replicate an immersive, safari-like experience for visitors.

“After researching and visiting 40 different local and international zoos we have incorporated state-of-the-art innovation and best practice animal welfare into our operation. We are confident that Sydney Zoo will be the most advanced of its kind in terms of education and sustainability, and will redefine the visitor experience. Visitors will enjoy elevated walkways and incredible proximity to the animals and our advanced display techniques and ultra-modern technology will improve the visibility of the animals in their habitats.”

“We plan to become an integral part of the communal breeding programs run under the Australasian Species Management Program, which includes both international and Australian facilities.”

“Sydney Zoo will be a real asset for the local community. We believe that the experiences it will deliver will bring people together and it will become a much loved destination for the people of Western Sydney.”

With the construction program beginning next month, the new Zoo is unique in that it features a wholly integrated Aboriginal and natural heritage exhibition, with Rangers from the local Darug people of Western Sydney – the traditional custodians of the land on which it will be built – employed to facilitate educational workshops with tourists and visitors on their culture and history. This has been developed in partnership with Muru Mittigar, a Darug Aboriginal organisation.

New South Wales Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the Zoo is set to become a core part of Western Sydney’s social and cultural infrastructure.

“Sydney Zoo will generate an expected $45 million per annum contribution to the NSW economy and attract up to one million visitors each year. It will create 160 full-time jobs during construction, and 120 full-time jobs during operation.”

Sydney Zoo will also engage with local educational facilities, partnering with Western Sydney University (WSU) by way of an educational sponsorship which will see students participating in animal rehabilitation as well as technology design.

Commenting on the proposed partnership, Dr. Andy Marks, Vice Chancellor of WSU said: “It’s a game changer in every sense of the word, from engineering applications and device enabled interactions with the Zoo, through to the traditional things like vet science; the Zoo encapsulates a whole range of activities the University does, and we’re really excited about it.”

Sydney Zoo will also be offering jobs training for its employees, as it looks to partner with TAFE in development of a range of Cert III and Cert IV qualifications for its employees.

Built within the 200-hectare Bungarribee Park in Western Sydney Parklands, the Zoo will attract families from Western Sydney as well as international tourists, and will feature:

1. World-class animal exhibits divided into four precincts: African Grasslands, African Highlands, South East Asian Tropical, and Cumberland Plain Woodlands

2. Reptile and Insectarium, Aquarium, Nocturnal House and Education Arena

3. Integrated Aboriginal and natural heritage program

4. Restaurant, kiosks, picnic areas, gardens, wetlands and waterways

Bungarribee Park is a major recreational and tourism hub in Western Sydney Parklands that stretches 27 kilometres from Quakers Hill in the north to Leppington in the south. With 5,280 hectares of green open space the Parklands provides better access to green open space will benefit the health and well-being of the community into the future.


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