DUBAI - Jumeirah Zoo closed its doors to the public on Sunday, leaving memories of half a century of providing education and entertainment to many generations of Dubai residents and visitors. The zoo was closed in preparation for the imminent opening of Dubai Safari, to where the animals have been moved.
Speaking on the occasion, Hussain Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality
, hailed the efforts of zoo employees over the years, saying that he looks forward to taking advantage of their expertise at Dubai Safari.
Dubai Zoo is the oldest of its kind on the Arabian Peninsula, and was the first Arabian zoo to breed the rare chimpanzee and the Arabian, or Gordon's, wildcat. Dubai Zoo was originally built in 1967 by a Dubai resident when Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai, permitted Otto J. Bulart to build it on a two hectare plot in Jumeirah, which was considered a Dubai landmark in the late 1960s as it indicated the "town's end".
In 1971, the management of Dubai Zoo was taken over by Dubai Municipality
. During the first couple of years of its existence, it housed only a few animals like the big cats, monkeys and hoofed-animals. There was also a small aquarium with fish and reptiles. From May 1986 to May 1989, part of the zoo was redesigned and rebuilt, and from June 1989 to the present, there has been constant re-designing and renovation.
Lootah said that the municipality aims to make Dubai Safari the best safari park in the world with a variety of exhibits, as well as all the services and facilities provided for visitors. He pointed out that all animals transferred to the Dubai Safari received exemplary care, emphasising the role played by the veterinarians in Dubai Safari in looking after the animals.
He also praised the staff of DM
s Public Parks and Horticulture Department, who work to preserve the rare and exotic plants in the Safari Park.
The 119-hectare, AED1 billion project is expected to officially open on National Day, December 2nd, according to Tim Husband, Dubai Safari’s Technical Director.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2017.