Creatures great and small
Safari park coming together after global hunt for species
For the last two years Dubai Safari boss Tim Husband has been travelling the globe on a complex mission to find the animals to populate the new park.
Along the way he and his staff have face problems securing species because of bird flu and genetic defects.
But the park’s development is entering the final stages and its enclosures will soon welcome 350 rare and endangered species from Africa, Asia and Europe.
On a recent trip to an animal sanctuary in Johannesburg, Husband hand-selected a couple of pygmy hippos, a pair of baby leopard cubs and four caracals, tiny wild cats native to the savannah and sub-saharan Africa.
He said: “We’ve turned down a lot of animals because they weren’t quite the quality we were after.”
Husband also secured several species of antelope, primates, cave hunting dogs, jackals and hyenas that will soon be delivered to the facility in Al Warqa. He said: “We’ve got deer arriving in
a week or two and then it will start snowballing from small reptiles to bigger animals. A group of Asian elephants will also be coming within the next few days, followed by a pride of ten African tawny lions from Mount Fuji in late November.”
They will join four rehomed lions, which haven’t been declawed, and nine lions imported from Seoul Grand Park zoo in March for the African Village – one of four exhibits at the new park.
He continued: “We are going to the Czech Republic next for Komodo dragons.”
“We’re not allowed to get birds out of South Africa or Africa at all because of the bird flu, while some of the best bird collections are there. We’ll find the birds in some of the clean Asian and European countries.”
In addition, six Bengal tigers brought in from a breeders in Africa will soon stalk the expanses of the park’s drive-through safari.
The zoo is designed for a total capacity of more than 10,500, anticipating a host of abandoned exotic pets. Other residents include more than 1,000 animals being moved from the cramped two-hectare site at Dubai Zoo in Jumeirah.
IN THE WILD: Husband with a baby giraffe (above) and with a caracal (right) in South Africa