The new zoo will be home to almost 1,000 animals from around the world, and out of those, there will be more than 350 species of rare and endangered animals. Image Credit: Dubai Municipality

Dubai: It’s full steam ahead for Dubai’s new zoo with Safari Park expected to open by mid-2016, confirmed a senior official on Sunday.

Covering a total area of 119 hectares at a cost of Dh150 million, the zoo is expected to open its doors to the public within the third quarter of next year.

“The new zoo will be home to almost 1,000 animals from around the world, and out of those, there will be more than 350 species of rare and endangered animals,” said Eng Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

The plans for opening a new zoo to replace the current 1.5 hectare zoo at Jumeirah Road has been in the pipeline for nearly a decade, and since construction on the project started taking shape from 2012, the animals can finally look forward to relocating to their new home at Al Warqa opposite Dragon Mart.

Hanan Hassan Al Aradi, an official at Dubai Municipality working on the project, told Gulf News that the Safari Park’s design and layout incorporate the best practices from world-renowned safaris and zoos. “A team of specialists visited a number of the world’s best and important zoos, such as those in Indonesia, Singapore, Austria, Germany and the San Diego Zoo. It is important to note that we did not only use their best practices but also adapted them to suit the needs of Dubai,” she said.

Safari Park has been designed to be environmentally-friendly and will use solar energy, “and a hybrid operational system will be used to run the irrigation network, which will also include water recycling, waste disposal and other recycling facilities,” said Lootah.

The solar-powered park has been designed to absorb sunlight, which will then be converted into conventional electricity during night time.

“The Village Safari area is almost complete, which will house the animals. The recreational areas providing umbrellas for visitors, and the cages for animals, have already been set up. We are now putting the finishing touches to the main building, as well as to the landscaping that will feature rocks, water and greenery,” said Lootah.

The park will feature 100 different kinds of plants, each related to the area’s theme, with over 2,500 trees.

He explained that the cages have been customised to suit the local climate, and assured that the animals will be comfortable and taken care of, as each cage will be temperature-controlled. The cages have been designed to use simple, water-cooled greenhouse technology.

On the advice of a zoologist and international specialists, Dubai Municipality was able to choose the types of animals to be housed at Dubai Safari Park.

“Various types of transport will be available, which will run using solar energy, and there will be a rubber-wheeled tram and monorail capsules for visitors to see the views down below,” said Lootah.

The new zoo comprises of several themed areas, including Arabian, Asian and African villages. Some of the other attractions that visitors can look forward across a designated site of 60 hectares are an amateur golf course, a botanical garden and a butterfly garden, in addition to restaurants and a food court. There will initially be 1,600 parking spaces over two designated areas, while further down the line, the municipality intends to expand it to 3,600 parking spaces over 9.4 hectares.

Key Features Of Dubai Safari Park

Set date to open by mid-2016.

The new zoo costs Dh150 million.

Covers an area of 119 hectares at Al Warqa area, along Al Aweer Road.

Will be home to 1,000 animals – 350 species, including endangered animals.

Initially, there will be 1,600 parking spaces.