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Dubai: More than 1,000 animals and birds of Dubai Zoo will get a new home soon as the first phase of the eagerly awaited Dubai Safari will be ready by the end of March, Dubai Municipality (DM) has announced.

The civic authority has revealed that 80 per cent of the levelling, internal roads and parking works in the project have been completed, with the rest expected to be ready by the end of the first quarter.

The Dh150 million project, spanning a total area of 400 hectares, is located in Al Warqa 5 on Aweer Road.

Stage one of Dubai Safari, which will include a Butterfly Park, golf courses, besides entertainment and recreational facilities, covers 60 hectares, and will house many new animal exhibits, said Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality.

Based on a unique concept of movement and interaction that will ensure a distinctive experience for visitors, the municipality aims to establish the best centre for wildlife in the world, providing a variety of environments appropriate to different animals.

“It is worth mentioning that the project comes in the old landfill area of Dubai. The upcoming stages will be announced once the bids are finalised with contractors,” Lootah said.

The new home for the animals of Dubai Zoo, which is spread over a 1.5-hectare area, is eagerly awaited as several plans announced earlier have failed to materialise.

The Safari will be divided into different sections — like African, Asian and Arabian — for animals coming from different geographical locations, with architecture and landscaping to match.

The project is based on a concept adopted in countries like Singapore and Thailand and will offer visitors a whole new experience.

“There was an overcrowding of animals in the existing zoo. The new one is not a real safari, we have created an idea. As the project completes, the animals from the old zoo will be shifted to the new place as well as having new animals from other zoos,” Lootah was earlier quoted as saying.

Dubai Zoo is the oldest zoo in the Gulf and its management was taken over by Dubai Municipality in the 1970s. It houses more than 200 animal species, including some of the rarest.