x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Get up close to endangered species at Al Ain Zoo

Al Ain Zoo is championing its conservation efforts this month, urging people to visit and see the country's threatened animals up close.

Arabian leopards are critically endangered, with fewer than 200 still living in the wild. They are among a number of threatened species at Al Ain Zoo, which is spreading its conservation message this month. Nicole Hill / The National
Arabian leopards are critically endangered, with fewer than 200 still living in the wild. They are among a number of threatened species at Al Ain Zoo, which is spreading its conservation message this month. Nicole Hill / The National

Al Ain Zoo is championing its conservation efforts this month, urging people to visit and see the country's threatened animals up close.

The facility is aiming to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting our arid land species.

It hopes that helping visitors get close to some of its 4,000 animals will encourage them to spread the conservation message.

"Al Ain Zoo has long been committed to wildlife preservation and is part of numerous partnerships and programmes - both in the UAE and overseas - in this sphere, and our aim is to enlighten the public and encourage them to share this important commitment," said Muna Al Dhaheri, acting head of conservation and education.

"Conservation Month will involve visitors in this global cause, where discovering our exciting animal exhibits and experiences also contributes and supports our mission to preserve the right of these animals to live freely in the wild."

Experts at the centre have been working with the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi to reintroduce captive Arabian oryx back into their natural habitat, and are involved in projects to protect the Arabian sand cat and the addax, which is a type of antelope.

Other partnerships include work with the Species Survival Commission, San Diego Zoo, the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya and the Sahara Conservation Fund.

The zoo's staff were also key in establishing the Arabian Zoo and Aquarium Association, an organisation that also has regional conservation as its primary objective.

Al Ain Zoo is open daily from 9am to 8pm.

ksinclair@thenational.ae