Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Elephants, gorillas and sand cats coming to Al Ain Zoo

The zoo is stepping up its conservation efforts with three new projects

Giraffes roam around Al Ain Zoo. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Giraffes roam around Al Ain Zoo. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

One of the world smallest felines will be accompanied by the largest terrestrial animals as Al Ain Zoo seeks to expand its conservation programmes to include an elephant safari.

The UAE’s largest zoo will also be opening a gorilla sanctuary and sand cat conservation centre over the next two years.

Construction has begun on the three new projects that are part of wider efforts to protect and preserve the animals.

"Our focus will be on raising the future generations’ awareness of the issues addressed through a series of programmes based on creative education, interaction and discovery," said Omar Al Blooshi, director of marketing and corporate communications at the zoo.

The African Elephant Safari project will be spread over 24 hectares, divided into the safari area, shelters, sheds, an African-inspired village, Llons’ exhibits, safe outdoor spaces for visitors and lounges.

Visitors will also be able to see the animals from an observation tower.

The 10,000 square metre Gorilla Sanctuary will be an extension of the area previously dedicated to Lady, a gorilla who spent more than 40 years at Al Ain Zoo before her death in 2016.

The sanctuary will includes indoor and outdoor exhibit areas and passageways designed after the Western lowland habitat, allowing visitors to view the gorillas in a habitat that mimics the wild.

The improved Sand Cat Conservation Centre aims to provide breeding programmes for sand cats and other local species as well as research programmes to protect and preserve them.

Al Ain Zoo has the world's largest group of Arabian sand cats and already runs a a breeding and release programme to increase the felines’ population in the wild.

Updated: April 3, 2019 05:01 PM

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