As part of its strategy to align with the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, its keenness to create a unique experience for visitors and perpetuate the conservation of endangered species, Al Ain Zoo has started construction work on three new major projects including the Elephant Safari, the Gorilla Sanctuary and the Sand Cat Conservation Centre.
Speaking on the occasion, Omar Yousef Al Blooshi, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Al Ain Zoo, said, "The three projects will be made available to visitors over the next two years and are primarily a reflection of the Zoo’s vision for global leadership in wildlife conservation by supporting and promoting conservation programmes and providing pioneering wildlife expertise. 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."
The African Elephant Safari project will be spread over 24 hectares, divided into Elephant Safari, shelters, sheds, African village, Lions’ exhibits, safe outdoor spaces for visitors and African-style lounges. These spaces will offer the visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Safari remotely via an observation tower that spreads over 1.31 hectares. The Lion Safari connects Al Ain Zoo’s current Safari with the new proposed one for elephants at a 2.6 hectares area along with a 2 hectares back of house for the elephants.
The Gorilla Sanctuary will extend to 10,000 square meters in the area that was previously dedicated to the late gorilla, "Lady", who spent more than 40 years at Al Ain Zoo. The project includes three indoor and outdoor exhibit areas and passageways reflecting the Western lowland habitat, allowing visitors to view the gorillas in their natural habitat.
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. The Centre highlights the global efforts of Al Ain Zoo and its role in the endangered Arabian Sand Cat breeding programme. There will be interactive areas for visitors and passageways where the Fennec Fox, Jerboa, Scorpions and Snakes are exhibited along with the Sand Cats, covering a total area of 706 square meters.
The projects are part of a series of future developments that aim to transform Al Ain Zoo and its adjacent area into a unique tourist destination in the Middle East and the world by creating a selection of wildlife projects and experiences alongside its wildlife conservation programmes.