WERRIBEE Open Range Zoo is set for a major makeover that will include a new home for an Asian elephant herd presently residing in Melbourne Zoo.
The state government announced the upcoming Victorian Budget 2020/21 will include $84 million for redeveloping the zoo. In addition to a new sanctuary for six Asian elephants, the redevelopment will include a treetop Sky Safari gondola, a new waterhole precinct, and a site for rhinos and bison.
State Treasurer and Member for Werribee Tim Pallas said the funding would provide substantial economic benefits to the region.
“The expansion of Werribee Open Range Zoo will create jobs in Melbourne’s west boosting the local economy and attracting more tourists – and more tourist dollars – to our great community.”
The Victoria government predicts the redevelopment’s benefits will be state-wide, contributing 17.8 million annually to Victoria’s economy.
The 22-hectare expansion is expected to create more than 300 local jobs, including 90 jobs looking after animals and visitors once the exhibits open, while the gondola will initially create 41 jobs.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the redevelopment would be an improvement for the people and animals alike.
“This funding will make Werribee Open Range Zoo an even better experience for locals and visitors – while at the same time ensuring our wonderful Asian elephants can enjoy the gold standard in animal welfare they deserve.”