Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Emirates Airline was named in the top 10 first class cabins by therichest.com. Find out what position it came here.
The Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort is looking into buying an elephant after requests from visitors.
The Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort is looking into buying an elephant after requests from visitors.

Elephant in the room at wildlife park

In a first for the Emirates, officials at Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, are looking at buying an elephant.

Call it Operation Dumbo Drop. Officials at Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, a combined zoo, botanical gardens and museum, are looking at buying an elephant. It would be a first for the Emirates and a complicated logistical challenge. "Our visitor surveys tell us that our guests want to see elephants," said Michael Maunder, the chief collection, conservation and education officer of the park. "However, our facilities and master plan do not include plans for elephants ? but we are getting a lot of interest."

The possible addition of an elephant would be part of the large-scale procurement drive at the park, where visitors will be able to see re-creations of the world's deserts on safari four-wheel-drives. Each of six deserts, including the Sonoran landscape of the south-west US and the arid environment of East Africa, will be complete with animals and plants from the native regions. The estimated US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) project will also include a resort, housing and museums. The first phase is planned to open in November next year.

The largest part of the project's procurement drive is plants. Trees, shrubs and succulents from up to 15 countries are being bought. Jamie Hilyard, the landscape manager, is known as the "plant hunter" by his colleagues because he travels around the world buying vegetation. They are growing aloe dichotoma in Kenya and shipping over trees such as the adansonia digitata, better known as the baobab, from markets in Thailand, Spain and Arizona.

Part of Mr Hilyard's job is to investigate the plants' places of origin to ensure they were not improperly taken from nature. But transporting large animals presents some of the starkest challenges to zoos around the world. Giraffes are usually moved over long distances only when they are young. At their peak height of about 5.5 metres, they do not safely fit in an aeroplane or a ship. Elephants can be transported in wide-body cargo planes, such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National