No Cookies | dailytelegraph.com.au LIONS, elephants and giraffes will be among a menagerie of animals that will make their home at a new zoo in Sydney’s west. Elevated walkways will give visitors a treetop view of African animals like cheetahs, elephants, zebras, giraffes and rhinoceros when it opens in Blacktown in late 2017. There will also be underwater glass viewing areas of hippopotamus, crocodiles and other aquatic life. The $36 million cage-free zoo will be built at the Bungarribee Super Park at Western Sydney Parklands on the Great Western Highway. It will be run by Sydney Zoo, whose founder John Burgess also set up Sydney Aquarium. The 16.4 hectare site, which is smaller than Sydney’s existing Taronga Zoo, will feature over 30 exhibits including Australian reptile and nocturnal animals, along with a native aquarium featuring freshwater bull sharks. The partnership between Sydney Zoo, Western Sydney Parklands Trust and Blacktown Council is expected to bring 745,000 people per year out to Blacktown, as well as a $45 million boost to the NSW economy Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said the zoo would make Sydney’s west a must-visit destination. “It will be a cage free zoo with limitless horizons which brings visitors safely face to face with animals, making it a hugely successful attraction,” he said. There will be a major focus on education and conservation, including breeding programs for endangered species. Jake Burgess, managing director of Sydney Zoo, said the programs would also increase awareness about issues such as poaching and habitat destruction. “Our high capacity facility will feature significant enclosure space, which is ideal for breeding programs. We will have extensive veterinary capabilities in-house as well as an animal rescue program, to give our native animals the best chance of survival.” They will partner with Western Sydney and Sydney universities, as well at Muru Mittigar and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. The project is expected to create more than 200 jobs once it is up and running, and Cr Bali said the council was working to ensure most of the jobs were given to people within the local area. Sydney Zoo is preparing a State Significant Development Application, which will be lodged with the state government and placed on public exhibition later this year. There will also be additional consultation events to allow feedback from the community.