Taronga Western Plains Zoo will officially open their new Lions Pridelands Exhibition on Wednesday morning.
The $9 million African Lion Pridelands project at Dubbo is set to be a major drawcard for the zoo, featuring a large 3.5- hectare open expanse where the lion pride will roam.
It has been designed to offer a unique visitor experience and to be unrivalled in Australia, with a pride of 10-15 lions, replicating natural family groupings in the wild.
It is the largest investment in an animal exhibit in the zoo’s history, and represents the first major change to the zoo’s circuit since its opening in 1977.
Story continues after video from July 2017 when the Daily Liberal was granted access to the works being undertaken to complete the Lions Pridelands
Taronga Western Plains Zoo director Steve Hinks said Easter and the school holiday period would be an incredibly exciting time for the zoo as the Lion Pride Lands opened.
“There’s been a huge amount of anticipation for this opening for some time now and our visitors will have seen construction taking shape from the zoo circuit. We are delighted with the finished product and we’re looking forward to sharing this amazing experience with our visitors,” he said.
The lions on display will include male Lazarus, lioness Maya, two sub-adult females and four juvenile male cubs.
There’ll be an uninterrupted view of the lions with floor to ceiling glass windows or visitors will be able to take the Pride Lands Patrol – a purpose built safari truck which will run guided tours multiple times a day.
“Overall, Lion Pride Lands takes visitors on a journey through an African Maasai village, highlighting the plight of African lions in the wild and their role as apex predators, living in close proximity to domestic livestock including goats,” Mr Hinks said.
“With lion populations in the wild experiencing a significant decline in recent years, and just 20,000 lions remaining in the wild today, Lion Pride Lands will raise much-needed awareness and knowledge about this incredible species.”