We will do our best for aban­doned pets

Dubai Sa­fari direc­tor says dumped big cats will be nur­tured back to health

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - @B_Shosh By Shoshana Ke­dem

Trau­ma­tised ex­otic pets that have been aban­doned in the UAE will be re­ha­bil­i­tated in a spe­cial en­clo­sure at Dubai’s new sa­fari park.

Go­ril­las and li­ons are among the an­i­mals that will be cared for, in­clud­ing the so-called ‘Lioness of Al Bar­sha’ (pic­tured), who was found roam­ing the streets of Dubai ear­lier this year.

Dubai Sa­fari boss Tim Hus­band said in some cases the li­ons’ claws have been re­moved, mean­ing they could never be re­turned to the wild or mix with li­ons with claws. He com­pared it to “hav­ing a pil­low fight with some­one with a knife”.

Five li­ons, as well as pri­mates, birds, a croc­o­dile and snakes, will be re­lo­cated from the ex­ist­ing Dubai Zoo to the new 119-hectare sa­fari park at Al Warqa.

“A lot of the an­i­mals were dumped at the gates at night or in­ter­cepted at the air­port by cus­toms of­fi­cials,” said Hus­band, the Project Man­ager, re­call­ing in­ci­dents where of­fi­cials would phone to say crates of mon­keys had been dis­cov­ered in cargo.

“We have two go­ril­las who came through cus­toms 20 years ago when they were just ba­bies,” he added.

A spe­cial en­clo­sure will be opened for li­ons who have been de­clawed, such as the lioness found in Al Bar­sha.

“Now she can never be put back in the wild,” he said. “We’ll try to build a pride with these de­clawed li­ons.”

The other four re­homed li­ons, which haven’t been de­clawed, will join nine li­ons im­ported from a zoo in South Korea in March for the African Vil­lage, one of four ex­hibits at the park. Hus­band said he was aware the open­ing of the new sa­fari may re­sult in the dump­ing of more an­i­mals. “A spe­cial quar­an­tine fa­cil­ity just for these an­i­mals will be built, to carry out med­i­cal checks and to see if they have been il­le­gally ob­tained or if they are suit­able for our col­lec­tion,” he said. “We’ll also try to get some of them back into the wild.” An­i­mal spe­cial­ists will also as­sist do­mes­ti­cated pri­mates whose cap­tiv­ity has caused psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems, he said. Hus­band added: “A lot of peo­ple don’t re­al­ize you can never own wildlife. You only have the honour of be­ing in the guardian­ship of them.” A grand open­ing of the zoo is ex­pected in Jan­uary, although a soft open­ing could take place in Oc­to­ber.

NEW HOME: One of the park’s li­ons at play

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.