Dubai Safari to break the mold and go beyond international standards
The Dubai Zoo is a subject that has seen many residents asking what has taken it so long to find the animals a new home.
And though there may be some skepticism surrounding the new Dubai Safari facility planned, as announced in May this year, Essa Al Maidour, Deputy General Manager of the Dubai Municipality’s Engineering and Planning Department, says the project is important for the emirate and that they are committed to ensuring it is the best it can be.
He said: “Zoos are an essential component in a city, both recreationally and educationally speaking. When you educate children you educate them by playing, similarly when they see the animals, touch them and feed them, we will be teaching them how to take care of them.”
To ensure that they get everything right with the new zoo, the municipality has involved international experts who are specialised in zoo and safari construction in the project. They have teams dealing with engineering work and infrastructure as well as teams dealing with biology and following the animals’ requirements and necessary specifications.
Their main aim with the new zoo is to provide a living space for the animals, not keep them penned in.
Al Maidour said: “It’s a safari for the person visiting and for the animal inside. They are not kept in enclosures; they are not kept in very limited space. They are in a much, much better environment and people will have the ability to see them, to watch without affecting the privacy of the animals. That’s how we can make it more comfortable for them.”
To do this, the municipality is set on following all international standards, something Al Maidour said they always do when doing engineering work, construction or dealing with food, a zoo, education facility, or anything else.
“The safari should be unique in itself. It should be the best worldwide. Our aim is to be number one.”
As for people’s reaction, Al Maidour said that it is something the municipality takes very seriously.
He said: “No city can be successful ignoring its people. They are like our eyes and when they give us suggestions and notices, it helps us to enhance all services, not only the zoo.”
When it comes to the concerns regarding the current zoo, he asks the public to be patient.
He said: “For sure we are concerned about the zoo, and the situation there, but we are trying.
“I think our colleagues there are doing their best, but you cannot all of a sudden change the situation and we are committed and that’s why we want to do something which really doesn’t need to be rectified or improved later on.”
This is why they have chosen the Al Warqa area on Aweer Road. The 400-hectare plot will provide the safari with plenty of room to expand, develop and improve.
Also, the site is part of what Al Maidour calls a ‘service corridor of recreation’, along with Mushrif Park and other various tourist attractions, making it easily accessible and more tempting for people to keep going back.
He said: “We want people not to come just one time; we want it to be changing as they come in. They will not be able to see everything in one visit, and when they come we want them to like to stay.”
Visitor preferences are just one of the factors the municipality and its team of experts are considering while they develop and execute their plans for the new safari.
Al Maidour said: “When it comes down to the construction and the phasing of the project, the public should know that maybe the first phase might be open within maybe two years, but this area will keep developing. The magnitude is huge; you cannot achieve it [overnight]. We are so excited to be able to bring this up.”
Getting the safari right is the Municipality’s biggest concern when it comes to the new facility and again Al Maidour stressed the need for patience.
He said: “We have started already… people are anxious and they want to see something, but you need time.”