Who's up for a trip to the zoo?
Melbourne’s Asian elephant herd will have a new home at Werribee Zoo as part of an $84 million redevelopment, boosting tourism, creating jobs and ensuring more families can experience the wonders of the animal world.
The development will deliver a world-class experience, with a world-class sanctuary for six elephants, who will move from Melbourne zoo, a tree top Sky Safari gondola, a new specially designed site for rhinos and bison, and a brand-new waterhole precinct.
“The new elephant sanctuary will be the gold standard in animal welfare with the herd able to roam freely over 22 hectares, including a walking trail to guide visitors through the landscape,” the state government said in a release.
“The relocation of the elephant herd completes Stage One of Zoos Victoria‘s 2030 strategy, as well as creating new space for further development opportunities at Melbourne Zoo – already one of Victoria’s favourite attractions.”
The expansion is set to create 350 local jobs – including 90 direct jobs looking after animals and visitors once the exhibits are up and running – as well as increasing the number of visitors and tourists through the gates from more than 680,000 in 2018/19 to one million visitors annually.
Construction on the elephant sanctuary and tree top Sky Safari gondola will begin soon and create an initial 41 jobs. Once completed the Werribee Zoo redevelopment is expected to contribute over $17.8 million annually to Victoria’s economy.
Until recently, Victoria’s zoos were forced to close their doors as Victoria worked to drive down case numbers. The Werribee Open Range Zoo is currently open to visitors who live within 25 kilometres of the Zoo.
In an effort to boost tourism across the state, Zoos Victoria have extended their “Kids Free” Policy until June 2021. That means free admission to Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary for young Victorians aged under 16 years on weekends, public holidays and during school holidays.
For more information, head to zoo.org.au