Sydney Zoo welcomes first animals in newly completed Africa precinct

September 2, 2019

Sydney Zoo, the first new major zoo to be built in Sydney for more than 100 years, has taken to Pride Rock today to officially welcome its very first arrivals.

Four lion brothers from Taronga Conservation Society are joined by three orang-utans, two cheetahs, three zebras, 11 chimpanzees and 13 baboons. In addition, Sydney Zoo welcomes three hyenas all the way from Singapore Zoo to Western Sydney – with the pack becoming the only hyenas to call Sydney home. 

The first animals arriving at Sydney Zoo have come from some of the world’s most respected facilities including the orang-utans Santan, Maimunah and Dewi from Melbourne Zoo, baboons and hyenas Enzi, Etana and Endesha from Singapore Zoo plus the kings of the jungle Bakari, Sheru, Karoo and Virunga, arriving in Western Sydney from Taronga Conservation Society.

The animals are spending time settling into their new environments before Sydney Zoo welcomes its other residents in the coming months ahead of the zoo’s official opening later in the year. Sydney Zoo will be the home to a wide range of exotic and native species, including more than 2,000 animals. 

Managing Director of Sydney Zoo, Jake Burgess, says the animals acquisition is a significant milestone in the zoo’s quest to deliver the most innovative animal encounters in Australia, offering visitors the opportunity to get closer to wildlife than ever before.

“Lions are  a symbol of courage and power, and such a majestic big cat species that it only seems fitting they are one of our first exciting arrivals. They, along with all the other animals, are settling into their surroundings nicely under the watchful eye of our expert keepers,” Mr Burgess said.

“Sydney Zoo is a new world-class facility offering an expansive habitat for each species, with endless enrichment options for our animals,” he continued.

The Hon Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Western Sydney says, “Sydney Zoo is a welcome addition to the tourism mix in Western Sydney and a huge vote of confidence in the future of the visitor economy.”

“Sydney Zoo is another reason to make a day or a weekend of a visit to Western Sydney and a unique place for locals to work or enjoy as a brand new attraction in their own backyard,” he continued.

Harna Burton, Life Sciences Manager – Primates at Melbourne Zoo says, “Santan, Maimunah and Dewi will have a vital role to play in bringing important conservation messaging to a new audience of visitors to Sydney Zoo, by showing how wonderful orang-utans are and how vital it is that they and their habitats are protected in the wild.”

Dr Cheng Wen Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore says, “Our curators have visited the new facilities and met with Sydney Zoo’s animal care team. We believe our spotted hyenas and Hamadryas baboons will have a good home in the new park and be important ambassadors for their species. Our heartiest congratulations to Sydney Zoo, as they join the Australasian zoological community to further wildlife conservation and grow peoples’ appreciation for nature and wildlife.”


Images of Sydney Zoo’s new animals as well as further information on each species is available here.

For more information visit: 


Red Havas
Zachary Pittas
P: 0468 636 401

About Sydney Zoo

Set to open in late 2019, Sydney Zoo, in the heart of Western Sydney, will be Australia’s most advanced Zoo, embracing technology and innovation to improve animal welfare, visitor engagement and education. 

Sydney Zoo will be the home to a wide range of iconic animal species making it a major family attraction. By using modern exhibit design, advanced behavioural enrichment methods, technology, water features and elevated boardwalks, Sydney Zoo will offer the highest standards of animal welfare, and an immersive, safari-like experience for visitors. 

Sydney Zoo will complement other local attractions and work with them to contribute to growing the emerging tourism cluster of Western Sydney.

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