The Perth Zoo’s only remaining lion, 18-year-old female Shinyanga, has been given a new enclosure as part of a $3.3 million upgrade to the African Lion exhibit.
Last year the zoo lost its two males – brothers Nelson and Mandela – leaving the African lioness alone.
Stage one of the upgrade includes Shinyanga’s new home and a viewing area, where visitors can learn about the growing threats lions are facing in the wild.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the project, when completed, would more than double the size of the zoo’s previous lion exhibit.
Stage two will include a breeding area, with the final exhibit capable of holding a pride of eight lions.
“This new lion exhibit will provide visitors to the zoo with better opportunities to see and learn more about these majestic cats,” Mr Dawson said.
“And allow Perth Zoo to bring in a new pride of lions to play a bigger role in regional and global breeding programs into the future.”
He also said it was a win for the state, capable of both creating jobs and boosting tourism.
“Stage one cost about $1.6 million, it created up to 30 jobs, we’re really proud that local people in Western Australia have been part of this,” he said.
“We’re hoping that this new lion enclosure will be a major new attraction and hopefully will lift our visitor numbers to Perth Zoo.”
The final exhibit is due to be completed mid 2018.