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Work on Open Safari Village in Dubai Safari Park complete

Lootah tours facility to check on work progress

Gulf News

Dubai: Work on the Open Safari Village in Dubai Safari Park has been completed, Dubai Municipality said on Monday.

Once the $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) project is open to the public, visitors will be able to tour the Open Safari Village to see animals roaming in a large open space.

Spread over an area of 22 hectares, the Open Safari Village is expected to be the most thrilling section of the 120-hectare Dubai Safari project which is slated to open by the end of the year.

The movement of visitors will be through four wheel drive vehicles, similar to safaris in countries such as Singapore, Thailand and others, the municipality said in a press release on Monday. “There are many special elements of suspense and excitement as well as opportunity to closely interact with the animals,” it said.

On Monday, Hussain Nasser Lootah, the municipality’s director-general, visited the site. He was accompanied by Dawood Al Hajeri, assistant director-general for Engineering and Planning Sector, Taleb Julfar, assistant director-general for Environment and Public Health Services, and other officials.

Batches of animals, including lions, bears, monkeys, and bats, started moving into the park earlier this year.

The project is divided into several areas — Asian village, African village and the Open Safari Village, in addition to a Valley and Children’s Park. Each section will be built based on the authentic environment of its character, in terms of facilities, restaurants, umbrellas and animal shelters, so that it characterises the diversity of population and the different environments, providing fun and change throughout the course.

The valley, powered by solar energy, has been set up on an area of 7.5 hectares. It has a waterfall, a stream and a lake, in addition to wooden bridges to connect the two sides of the valley. The project also includes a wide range of recreational, cultural and sporting events. Cleanliness, attention to animals and health standards will be taken care of by veterinary doctors, who will be stationed inside the park, in addition to constant cleaning by workers, the municipality said.

Migrating birds

Dubai Safari has received four new species of migrant birds as guests for the first time. These are the Daurian or Isabelline shrike, Temminck’s stint, Common Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper. The birds were seen on Monday morning just before the visit of Lootah, who made a quick round of the under-construction Dubai Safari to see its progress.

Dr Reza Khan, principal wildlife specialist based in Dubai Safari, has been recording the plants that are growing naturally and the animals of the safari as well as the birds that are visiting the safari on transit or are becoming permanent residents.

During a tour of the safari early in the morning, Dr Khan noted three specimens of Daurian Shrike, also called Isabelline Shrike, which is a resident of Central Asia and parts of Europe.

The other three species are called waders or shorebirds that usually breed in parts of Asia and Europe, even in areas in Siberia in Russia. These waders migrate from their breeding grounds to Arabia, the Middle East and then head to the coastal areas of the Red Sea and East Coast of Africa during three seasons.

First they come in autumn that means now, then in winter and again in spring, said Dr Khan.

In addition to over three dozen species of birds noted earlier, Dr Khan said he has seen these birds comfortably eating insects and worms from near the water and in hedges.

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