All about the animals at new zoo
Dubai Safari boss promises five-star treatment for park’s 5,000 residents
The boss of the new Dubai Safari park has promised a better life for the thousands of animals that will shortly be calling it home. On an exclusive tour of the Dhs1 billion, 119-hectare facility ahead of its October soft opening, Tim Husband (pictured) told 7DAYS the park will feature state-of-the-art technology - such as rocks with airconditioning - to ensure five-star treatment for the animals. The residents will include more than 1,000 animals being moved from the cramped quarters of the two-hectare Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah. As well as the Dubai Zoo animals, most of which were abandoned or seized from local owners, thousands of animals are also being imported from other zoos around the world.
“Dubai Safari is a better place for them because a lot of these animals are coming from third world countries where the conditions aren’t that great,” said Husband.
“One thing that makes us different than a lot of safaris around the world is we don’t do snapshots with a tiger or lion and we don’t do elephant rides. Everything is about the ethics for the animals.”
As well as air-conditioned rocks, there will be sprawling basins of specially-cooled pools for antelope, water buffalo and rhino. Husband said: “We are making sure the environment here for these animals is better than where they’re coming from. “Even though it’s a hot desert we’re making sure that all their enclosures, exhibits and holding facilities are kept at a good safe temperature so these animals won’t suffer at all. “All the cats - lions, cheetahs and tigers - have air-conditioned areas, even the hyenas have got it in some areas.” A sprawling crag of artificial rocks housing their pride of nine male lions have built-in air conditioning, while the cheetah rock exhibit has misting machines underneath. The cooling facilities are powered by solar panels on canopies shimmering over the car park in an effort to reduce the zoo’s carbon footprint. Raised atop the Al Warqa industrial area, the park has been converted from a former rubbish dump into a new haven for animals. “Only in Dubai can you turn a tip into a paradise,” said Husband. “This was all landfill, that’s why it’s so high. They capped it, finished it and it’s fantastic.” When Dubai Safari opens its gates at the end of the year, about 5,000 animals will roam the enclosures. The zoo is designed for a total capacity of more than 10,500. “I’ve made sure the animals we are getting are way below the maximum [capacity],” he said. “We’ll still have a great population in total close to 5,000 animals when we’re finished but double that would be the maximum.”