THEY come from as far afield as Africa's majestic Serengeti, the tropical forests of Indo-Malay and the chilly reaches of Antarctica.

It is a colourful and eye-catching menagerie that includes elephants, a crocodile, a tiger, penguins and a soaring albatross.

After six months under wraps, the revamped Life Gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow will re-open to the public tomorrow.

Alongside returning old favourites such as Sir Roger the elephant, a host of new animals and birds have gone on display for the first time including a leopard – donated by the former Glasgow Zoo – and Arctic tern seabirds.

The space has been arranged by "ecozone" – a term used to describe diverse bio-geographical areas typically separated by barriers such as deserts, oceans or mountains.

The mesmerising story of the Serengeti migration in Africa is told in a display which includes a cheetah, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, Thomson's gazelle and a dung beetle.

Antarctica contains a wandering albatross with its colossal wing span extended in flight alongside seals and penguins, while the Indo-Malay zone features a tiger.

The beloved Sir Roger returns to take up his post at Kelvingrove where he has been a regular sight for more than a century.

After retiring from the travelling show Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie in 1897, he went to live at the Scottish Zoo in Glasgow.

Unfortunately in 1900, Sir Roger developed "musth" – a condition where male elephants are in heat and can become dangerous.

It was decided he must be euthanised. Some soldiers and a man with an elephant gun turned up and shot Sir Roger one morning as he ate his breakfast.

He first arrived at Kelvingrove in 1902.

Joining Sir Roger is a juvenile male Asian elephant – named Kelvin following a competition in the Evening Times – that came from the Scottish Zoo in 1899.

In recent days, conservator of natural history, Laurence Simmen, and natural sciences research manager, Richard Sutcliffe, have placed the final animals and birds into their new homes ready to meet the public.

The creation of the new Life Gallery is a two-year project.

Renovations were timed to coincide with the iconic Spitfire which hangs in Kelvingrove being lowered last autumn for a routine inspection, setting in motion one of the largest exhibit changes since the building re-opened in 2006.

This marks the culmination of the first phase, with the second set to take place at the end of the year.

Phase two will see the completion of the gallery space, with the addition of displays relating to other areas of the world including the famed kangaroos and koalas of Australasia.

Manager of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Neil Ballantyne, said: "We are delighted to welcome visitors back to the redesigned Life Gallery at Kelvingrove.

"I am confident they will agree it looks fantastic. But more than that, it offers an opportunity to experience and learn about parts of the world that are far from and entirely different to Glasgow."

A public consultation in spring 2014 has informed the displays, object selection and design.

The redesigned gallery was made possible with the support of the independent charity Friends of Glasgow Museums, a donation from Glasgow Museums Patron's Circle and a significant public fundraising campaign.

Friends of Glasgow Museums made the first donation of almost £50,000 which enabled a complete redisplay of the African section.

The Patrons' Circle and public fundraising supported the costs of specialist taxidermy to mount a number of key objects.

All donors will be credited within the new gallery.

Chairwoman of Friends of Glasgow Museums, Liz Dent, said: "The Friends are delighted to have been able to support the complete redisplay of the African ecozone, with our biggest donation to date.

"I hope today's generation get as much pleasure from the natural history display as previous generations have."

RSPB Scotland has been working with Glasgow Museums since 2007, helping to interpret the natural history collection for visitors and assisted with the redisplay.

Project officer, Sarah-Jayne Forster, said: "We use the amazing collection at Kelvingrove to help people get closer to nature and link the animals they see with important conservation issues.

"The wandering albatross is a good example of this as these wonderful birds are currently under threat of extinction. The new display explores some of the research and science that is going into bringing these birds back from the brink."

For more information, visit