Before it concludes its Golden Jubilee celebrations this month, the Al Ain Zoo is bringing four male lowland gorillas to add a new wildlife experience for its visitors and animal lovers.
Omar Yousef Al Blooshi, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication at the Al Ain Zoo, said, "We are so glad to add a new unique experience for our visitors, the first of its kind in the Middle East, and bring four male lowland gorillas to add to our family. Our visitors have long been waiting for a new gorilla enclosure after the death of the much-loved gorilla, Lady, in 2016."
Al Blooshi stated, "Welcoming new animals to the zoo is a part of our series of ongoing local and international programmes to preserve nature and endangered species, with mutual cooperation and exchange of experiences with our fellow experts and partners around the world.
This project started two years ago in collaboration with Apenheul Primate Park, the Netherlands, after the approval from the European Breeding Programmes, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This promotes our ability to nurture multiple species with the very best standards of care for endangered species.
"In collaboration with authorities in both countries, we have decided to transfer the gorillas before the winter season starts in the Netherlands, in order to ensure a safe and easy trip for the animals. We will keep the gorillas in the Big Cats enclosure until work is complete for their new area that will match their natural habitat," he said in conclusion.
Bringing the four gorillas constitutes the first phase in the process of the Gorillas’ Jungle Project, implemented by the Al Ain Zoo as part of its future projects. The project will include gorilla families of both genders in an area of nearly 10,000 square metres that will match their natural habitat.
The zoo sent the keepers of the four gorillas to the Apenheul Primate Park to join a specialised training programme so that they are qualified to care for the species and learn about their behaviour and personality.
Lady and Maxi were the first lowland gorillas to inhabit the Al Ain Zoo and had lived there since 1978. After Maxi passed away from natural causes in the 1990s, Lady had been welcoming visitors to the park until she died in 2016 at the age of 41, an incident that caused immense grief among both visitors and zookeepers.