Work progresses on Monarto Safari Park's Wild Africa expansion

A herd of endangered oryx has been released into the precinct ahead of construction starting on a $40 million resort development.

Construction of a $40 million resort at Monarto Safari Park is due to start within months, Zoos SA says.

Work on the park’s Wild Africa expansion is progressing, with 20 kilometres of roads already built and eight new waterholes dug.

Construction of a resort building, glamping and other facilities is scheduled to begin in the middle of this year.

All things going well, the resort could open as early as 2022.

In the meantime, Zoos SA has begun populating the exhibit with the things visitors will someday travel from all over the world to see: unusual animals.

A herd of scimitar-horned oryx, a species of antelope, was released into Wild Africa late last month, joining 14 blackbuck – or Indian antelope – and three ostriches.

Oryx were once widespread around the fringes of the Sahara Desert, in northern Africa, but have been listed as extinct in the wild since 2000.

Safari park director Peter Clark said the sight of the animals roaming in grasslands at Monarto was magnificent, and a reminder of the importance of conservation work.

The 550-hectare Wild Africa precinct is being developed in partnership with Victorian businessman Gerry Ryan, both as a tourist attraction and to further Zoos SA’s mission to protect vulnerable species.

It will eventually house zebras, hippos and southern white rhinos, among other species.

The safari park will also get a new, $16.8 million visitor centre as part of the redevelopment.

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