ALL of the exotic animals, including a pride of 24 lions, at a private zoo in Cairns up for auction will be given new homes.
The owner of the Shambala Animal Kingdom says if a new owner wishes to maintain the site as a zoo provisions will be made for some animals to be kept.
But Elaine Harrison says she expects all the animals will be sent to new homes, most likely an international conservation and breeding program, and the business will be sold as a vacant lot at the December 15 auction.
Ms Harrison bought the business, formerly the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve, earlier this year but cites family and health reasons behind her decision to sell.
She said it was unlikely the site, which has struggled to remain viable since opening as the Mareeba Wild Animal Park in 2004, would continue to operate as a zoo.
"Not unless someone like a Clive Palmer comes along," Ms Harrison told AAP on Wednesday.
"The animals' welfare is the main priority and they will be looked after completely."
RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said the financial burdens of private zoos often made them an unviable business.
He said the society wasn't expecting the current business to be salvaged.
"It's a very expensive thing to do to run zoos like that," Mr Beatty told AAP.
"If there was some way of setting up a bond before somebody took it over but you're talking about a huge amount of money. It's a very difficult subject.
"We would certainly not support anyone else, for example, who was trying to set up another zoo somewhere in Australia."
By Ed Jackson, AAP