The zoo made famous by crocodile hunter Steve Irwin is to be enlarged and developed as a world class tourist destination after a land deal with the Queensland government. The government has agreed to hand over a parcel of state land so Australia Zoo can set up an open range safari experience, incorporating wildlife from Africa, South East Asia and North America. In return for the land, the zoo will give the government a larger piece of land near the Peachester State Forest, to be used for forestry. The zoo also will pay the state the difference in land value for the swap. Queensland Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr said the move would bringto fruition Steve and Terri Irwin’s dream of a stand-alone world-class tourist destination. The zoo’s new piece of land will be excised from the Beerwah State Forest, to the south-east of the attraction’s existing facilities. A spokeswoman for the zoo said the deal was welcome. “There are a number of processes which Australia Zoo must implement to realise its dream but the agreement on forestry land which it has reached with the government brings expansion one step closer,” she said. Irwin, 44, died last September when a stingray barb pierced his chest as he filmed a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef. His legacy, conservation fund Wildlife Warriors, has attracted millions of dollars in donations since his death, with some of the money to go towards building a new animal hospital at the zoo.