Dubai ZOO

The Dubai Zoo holds the distinction of being the oldest zoo, not just in Dubai but in the entirety of the Arabian Peninsula. It is currently located in a two-hectare facility in Jumeirah. Its location made it a major landmark in the city of Dubai, as it supposedly denotes the “town’s end.”

The Dubai Zoo is a product originally of the efforts of Otto J. Bulart, who had sought and received permission to establish the zoo from the late HH Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum. In its early days, the Dubai Zoo was home to only a handful of wildcats and chimpanzees, but the number of animals on show within this facility has since expanded. The Dubai Municipality took over the stewardship of Dubai Zoo in 1971, and the zoo went through various renovations throughout the 1980s.

The Dubai Zoo is now a popular family destination among locals and tourists alike, and it is home to around 200 species of mammals, amphibians and birds. Many of these animals are found only in the Arabian Peninsula, and there are even some species in the Dubai Zoo that are endangered and can no longer be found in the wild.

Among such endangered species that call the Dubai Zoo as its home is the Arabian wolf, which is a subspecies of the gray wolf. Packs of Arabian wolves used to be sighted in the areas of Jordan, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Now, however, the Arabian wolves are no longer found in the wild, and they are among the chief attractions of Dubai Zoo. There are on-going efforts to breed them in captivity.

Another endangered species housed in Dubai Zoo are the Socotra cormorants, also known as the Socotra shags. These seabirds are large and colored almost a pure black. They are found mostly on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Pollution and the oil spills caused by the First Gulf War had put the Socotra cormorants in danger, and the Dubai Zoo has one of the few remaining breeding colonies of this species.

Dubai ZooSiberian tigers and Bengal tigers can also be found in the Dubai Zoo. The Siberian tiger, a native of the forests of Manchuria, northern China and Korea, can only tolerate low temperatures. The Dubai Zoo has created a habitat for its Siberian tigers that constantly protect them from the hot temperatures in Dubai.

The other animals found in the Dubai Zoo are the Barbary sheep, several species of large cats, around seven species of primates including the chimpanzee and the gorilla, and birds of prey that are native in the Arabian Peninsula such as vultures.

Recently, Dubai Zoo has gained some criticism over the conditions of its current facilities in Dubai, with the animals being far too crowded together inside. In response to these criticisms, a new and larger facility is now being built in Dubailand where the animals can live in areas that closely mimic their natural surroundings. These facilities will be open to the public by September of 2008.