African elephant herd, Loxodonta africana, at waterhole, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe SHUTTERSTOCK Image Credit:

Dubai: African elephants will enthral visitors at Dubai Safari Park from October, Gulf News has learnt.

Meanwhile, some old and sick animals at the old Dubai Zoo have yet to be shifted to the new wildlife park.

Four African elephants, three females and one male, were flown in from Zimbabwe in late April, sources told Gulf News.

The world’s largest land mammals that have made Dubai Safari their new home are currently doing well, according to sources.

Though they arrived three weeks before Dubai Safari Park closed for an upgrade on May 15, these elephants were not displayed to visitors.

They will be displayed only when Dubai Safari reopens with new attractions that are said to include activities like ziplining and bungee jumping.

Gulf News had earlier in 2007 reported that the biggest attraction at Dubai Safari Park was expected to be a group of elephants, the arrival of which would not be made public until they settled down well.

“I can only say that there will be 16 of them and it will be the largest number of elephants ever moved legally,” the park’s technical director Tim Husband had then said.

However, only the first batch of four has reached so far. It is not clear when the rest would arrive.

Old animals

Meanwhile, there are a few animals still at the old Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah that are not being exhibited because of age and health reasons, sources told Gulf News.

These include lions, tigers, chimpanzees, gazelles, monkeys and some birds, including an emu.

The animals are expected to remain at the site until it is cooler to move them. The prevailing heat and stress may be too much for them, a source said, adding that plans were afoot to move them to Dubai Safari once temperatures come down.

Some Jumeirah residents said they were concerned about the health of the animals that have been left behind in the 50 year-old zoo.

Johanna Richmond said a few days ago she saw a monkey climbing to the top of his cage crying. “Are they being looked after? Are they to be moved or will they just be left to die?” she wondered.

However, sources said they were being taken care of round-the-clock by keepers who are still stationed at the zoo.

“Vets from Dubai Safari also visit the zoo to check them frequently,” said one of them.

Though they will reach the new home at Dubai Safari by the time it reopens after an upgrade, they will not be exhibited to visitors.

“They will be retired in AC holdings. They have served Dubai well and deserve to live out the rest of their lives in peace,” one source said.