Final preparations for a new zoo in Essex are firmly underway ahead of its grand opening this autumn.

Call of the Wild Zoological Park will open on the site of the former Tropical Wings Zoo, near South Woodham Ferrers.

Some animals have already arrived and are now settling into their new home, so with anticipation rising, here is everything we know so far about Essex’s newest attraction.

What animals will be at the zoo?


Meerkats are already on the site with lemurs, porcupines and wallabies set to settle into life at the attraction in coming weeks.

A tropical house which previously featured at the old zoo and was filled with birds and butterflies, is set to be brought back and bosses also hope to add birds of prey and reptiles.

Many of the animals will be coming from other zoos or private collection, and some are rescues.

Other plans include setting up African, Australian and American sections of the zoo as well as a native section to showcase some of the unique animals found in the UK.

When will it open?


The initial plan was to open the new zoo in February next year and this remains the aim.

However, bosses have suggested they may allow members of the public a sneak peak of the facilities with behind the scenes tours before Christmas.

What have bosses said?

Speaking to the Echo earlier this week, zoo director Ryan Shorter said: “The final paper work is going through at the moment and we are awaiting an inspection.

“The gardens are all finished and looking great now. We are rebuilding some of the enclosures and animals are coming onto the site.

"We’ve got the Meerkats in and there will be lemurs and porcupines and wallabies coming very soon too.

“We are hoping to be open for February and planning on some open days in the future too.

“It will be huge to get a zoo open again on this site and will be a big boost to education and conservation. There is nothing like this in the area at all and the closest will be Colchester Zoo and Paradise Wildlife Park.”

The new zoo has already received support from the community.

Mr Shorter added: “The reaction in the community and on social media has been amazing and past our expectations and we’re so grateful for this.

“There will be some different things but it’ll still be a very much hands on experience for families and visitors.”