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Dubai Zoo’s last summer in Jumeirah?

Speculation is rife that the 1,000 animals will be relocated to the 120 hectare Dubai Wildlife Safari much ahead of its opening by the end of next year

  • By Jay B. Hilotin, Chief Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 July 3, 2013
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: XPRESS/ Ahmed Ramzan
  • Too hot to trot: Zoo animals need to stay cool as much as humans during the hot summer
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Dubai: Could this be the last summer for the animals at Dubai Zoo? 
If things go as planned, the 1,000 animals will be relocated to a new zoo that is about 80 times bigger than the existing Jumeirah zoo, built in 1967.

The Dh150-million Dubai Wildlife Safari is taking shape in a 120-hectare facility opposite Dragon Mart on Al Aweer road.

It’s expected to open to the public in late 2014. But the animals may have to be shifted earlier.

Speculation is rife that this is their last summer in Jumeirah.

Zoo animals need to stay cool just as much as humans during summer. Without proper hydration, they could become lethargic and dehydrated, and, at times, even suffer heat stroke.

Giant fans have been put up at the cages of the big cats, monkeys and some bird species.

Boa constrictors and some other large reptiles are cooled by window-type air-conditioning units.

To beat the merciless heat, many animals take refuge under the canopy of old trees.

The next summer could be vastly different as their new homes will be temperature controlled and surrounded by dense vegetation.

“This place is rather small for these poor animals today,” said Olu, a tourist from Nigeria. “It’s good to know they’re moving them to a bigger, better place.”

Senior municipality officials said the first phase of Dubai Wildlife Safari’s construction had been completed and the new facility will open as planned by 2014. Excavation work started in September 2012, levelling the ground and paving internal and external roads.

The Dubai Safari will be made up of a zoo, a wildlife safari park, a butterfly park, botanical garden, resort and golf course. It will also have vet and educational facilities.

The main zoo will cover about 29 hectares.

A zoo employee illustrates how the lack of space has hampered its growth.

“We used to captive-breed Nile crocodiles but it was stopped after a while due to lack of space in the existing one,” a staff told XPRESS but asked not to be named.

Plans to relocated the zoo have been shelved a number of times in the past. “I think this time it will happen,” said the zoo staff.

Hussain Nassir Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said earlier the infrastructure and work on the water feature package have started. “The schedule is going according to plan and will be completed by the end of next year,” he said.

Fact Box

1967 – the year Dubai Zoo was established in Jumeirah (oldest zoo in the Arabian peninsula)

1.5 – size of existing Dubai Zoo in hectares

1,000 – number of animals and birds at the zoo

12 – number of big cats (lions and tigers)

15 – number of crocodiles

120– total area in hectares of under-construction Dubai Wildlife Safari

3,600 – number parking spaces across 9.4 hectares of new safari

Comments (4)

Your comment
  1. Added 11:51 July 4, 2013

    No doubt that if the zoo is shifted to a new facility then not only it will be a big relief for the animals, which are confined to a very small place in the existing zoo, but also it will be an added feature for the visitors to Dubai. Sure to generate more income and since the new facility in Al Aweer area is going to have more features like safari, golf etc. Thanks to the Municipality authorities for taking care of the animals by providing fans and air-conditioners during summer and also for avoiding people to be in such a congested area.

    Ramani Rajan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 08:10 July 4, 2013

    Thank God at least after 40+ years someone realized that the poor animals need a better place for living. Well done!

    Beverley, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 07:59 July 4, 2013

    Its about time....hope that nothing hinders the progress of building the new zoo and giving these animals a new home...The earth belongs to them as well and they deserve the better treatment as well.....

    Susan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 06:47 July 4, 2013

    And the fee will be 50 dirham per person. currently its 2 dirhams in Jumairah

    Sama, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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