Dubai to start work on a ‘world class’ zoo

Municipality admits that the existing facility is ‘old’ and ‘small’

(Picture for illustration purposes only)

(Picture for illustration purposes only)

Dubai is to start work on a new Zoo this year in a bid to replace the existing, outdated facility with a new park of “world class” standards, Dubai Municipality has said.

Plans for the new animal centre are expected to be signed off in the next two months with the help of special consultants, who will decide a suitable site, the required area as well as the location and grouping of animals, the municipality said.

According to the authorities, the zoo will adopt the cage concept over the safari model, which is typically reserved for developed countries and allows animals to roam freely within the development.

The cage concept is more appropriate for Dubai, officials said, given the are constraints of the emirate.

“The cages will be arranged and distributed in accordance with each category and type of animals, birds and other species in a comfortable way and adequate space without affecting the neighbourhoods,” said Hussian Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality.

“A full-fledged team of specialists, veterinarians, animal curators and entire qualified cadres for animal welfare according to the global systems and frame lines will be available.”

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.

Campaigners from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) famously gathered outside the zoo in July 2010 dressed up in monkey masks and prison outfits, protesting against the conditions the animals were being kept in.

The facility, which was established by HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in 1967, now holds more animals than before, some of which are endangered and exotic animals illegally trafficked into Dubai from other countries.

Lootah admitted that the centre was outdated, and said the new zoo would provide better conditions for the animals.

“The current zoo should be improved,” he said. “It is very old and small after the huge development around it and increasing number of animals and visitors.”

He added that the animals would be shifted as soon as the new zoo was ready.

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Posted by: Doug

I've got a much better idea.

Dubai has a massive great chunk of desert round the back of it. Why not scrap the idea of a 'cage' zoo entirely and set up a proper, decent, world-class wildlife reserve? Landscape it up, stick in some good animal shelters and you've got something that could compete with safari parks and give the animals much better conditions. This wouldn't affect neighbourhoods and could be a great addition to Dubailand, which hopefully is due to be completed soon....!

Posted by: Doug

That's why I suggested building some kind of shelter compound. Wherever you go in Dubai, it's going to be too hot in summer. Build a large climate controlled compound and you've got a central visitor attraction that can remain open all year round, and the animals get a big of freedom in the winter.

It also means you've got a much more comprehensive and attractive offer than a cage zoo. You could also have an 'Arabian' area which would showcase the natural bounty of the region in the proper context and help teach expats and nationals about the wildlife blessing that has been bestowed on this land.

But you are right, whatever is built would be a massive drain on resources. I'd question really whether Dubai needs a zoo, caged or not. But if one's going to be built, let's at least make it comfortable for the attractions

Posted by: Prad

@Doug, it is a pretty good idea...setup a wild life reserve to compete with the likes of those in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. The only issue with letting animals run wild in the desert....the harsh UAE weather. A lot of these animals would need air conditioned facilities to survive. Already there is a massive drain on energy resources used for human consumption.

Posted by: Honey Badger

@Richard Mullane: Sorry, not following the logic here. You want the animals to stay in their current cramped conditions? If they build a new zoo and it becomes successful with audiences, then there will be more funds available for the welfare of these animals.

Posted by: Telcoguy

he probably thinks that given the experience of the current zoo it is better not to bring more animals here.
He has a point.

Posted by: ZeTallGerman

I'll believe it when I see it... how often has a new zoo been announced? Four, five times in the past 10 years? I hope these poor animals will finally be moved to a more spacious and modern facility.

Posted by: Richard Mullane

just dont build it at all. there is enough cruelty to animals already in dubai and lets be honest a new zoo is just another amusement piece to the dubai portfolio.

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