x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rare hippos set to draw visitors to Al Ain Zoo

From the first day of Eid Al Fitr, five hippos can be seen in an outdoor setting, including greenery and a water pool, similar to the species' natural environment.

Wild hippos are naturally found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Wild hippos are naturally found in sub-Saharan Africa.

A special exhibit is set to draw visitors to Al Ain Zoo during the Eid holidays - rare hippopotamuses.

From the first day of Eid Al Fitr, five hippos can be seen in an outdoor setting, including greenery and a water pool, similar to the species' natural environment.

Shaded areas and water showers will reduce the effect of the summer heat, while trees and shrubs will provide additional shade without obstructing the clear view of the animals and their setting.

"We are pleased to offer a new exciting experience for our visitors. Hippos have been part of our animal collection for many years, but have not been on display for the public," said Muna Al Dhaheri, acting director of life science and education at the zoo.

"Now, with the new exhibit being launched, visitors will be able to watch this extraordinary species enjoying their new home."

Wild hippos are naturally found in sub-Saharan Africa. They are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species because of a significant decline in their population over the past three decades.

Primary threats to hippos include illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory from their teeth, and habitat loss. It is estimated that there are only between 125,000 and 148,000 hippos remaining.

The hippo exhibit will be between the Mixed African display and the giraffe feeding area opposite the Arabian wolf exhibit at the zoo.

Al Ain Zoo will be open during the Eid Al Fitr holiday from 10am to 10pm. After the holiday, the zoo will be open from 4pm to 10pm.

mismail@thenational.ae