More room to view at Werribee Open Range Zoo
A new viewing platform at Werribee Open Range Zoo is giving visitors a fresh, up-close perspective of the Zoo’s allfemale lion pride.
The viewing platform overlooks a sheer moat barrier that creates a visual illusion making onlookers feel they are only a handful of metres away from the lions with just open space between.
African River Trail Keeper Kristina Sleeth said the new view means visitors can now see more of the important enrichment activities that keepers use to engage the magnificent big cats.
“Our lionesses often use the area now visible to visitors to sunbathe, play with each other, explore enrichment and get a good view of the Blackbuck in the neighbouring habitat,” said Ms Sleeth.
“One of the benefits of the enrichments we provide is that they get our lions active and encourage them to explore their habitat.
“Our visitors will now be in an even better position to see this and, hopefully, share in the excitement.”
The Zoo’s horticulture and works teams completely transformed the new viewing platform while the Zoo was closed to visitors earlier this year.
To achieve the obstruction-free viewing aspect, a sheer moat has been cut against the display boundary, which provides an innovative safety barrier for both lions and visitors.
Werribee Open Range Zoo’s pride of lions are ambassadors for their wild cousins, who are classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union of Conservation and face a range of threats, including habitat destruction and illegal poaching.
The Zoo’s lions also form part of a regional breeding program that aims to maintain a genetically diverse population of the species in the fight against extinction. Two male lions recently moved from Werribee Open Range Zoo to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo as part of the regional breeding program.
Werribee Open Range Zoo re-opened to visitors on Thursday 29 October under the latest changing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions by the Victorian Government. Daily visitor numbers are capped and all tickets must be prepurchased online. For more information, visit: www.zoo.org.au