Qatar is to spend nearly US$55m renovating and upgrading Doha Zoo, to make it into one of the best zoological establishments in the world, according to reports.
Doha Zoo will be closed to the public over the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holidays as it has been closed for renovation and maintenance.
Arabic newspapers in Qatar quoted the zoo’s director, Hasan al-Muhannadi, who said the renovation work would take several months to complete.
Zoo officials added the work would cost around QAR200m (US$54.9m) and when complete will “make it a world class tourist attraction”.
The Doha Zoo is not the first zoological attraction to get a makeover and it will compete with Dubai Zoo for the title of the best in the region as in May the emirate launched plans to build a safari park-style facility to replace the much criticised facility.
Hussain Nassir Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, said that the Dubai Safari Project, which will be located in Al Warqa 5 in Aweer Road, would cover 400 hectares and include a safari park, butterfly park, golf courses, and entertainment and recreational areas.
Dubai Safari, which will cover 60 hectares of the total area, is aimed at "establishing the best centre for wildlife in the world", Lootah said.
The site of the project is currently being prepared with roads and infrastructure, gardening, and landscaping, he added.
Hundreds of animals, birds and other creatures living in enclosures in the existing facility in Jumeirah will be relocated to the new safari park.
Dubai Zoo has attracted a wave of criticism over the years, with animal lovers and charities complaining about its small cages and poor living conditions.