New Dubai Safari Park in final stages before 2017 opening

The doors at Dubai Safari Park will open early next year, allowing the public to enjoy a spectacle that has been more than a decade in the making.

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Final preparations are under way at Dubai Safari Park. Victor Besa for The National

DUBAI // The doors at Dubai Safari Park will open early next year, allowing the public to enjoy a spectacle that has been more than a decade in the making.

Final preparations are under way and the park, which is near Dragonmart, has quarantined its first animals for tests to ensure they are in good health and were not taken from the wild.

Animals on site at the 119-hectare phase one of the park include lions, antelopes, elephants and creatures from Australasia.

Phase two will involve animals from the Americas.

The facility will also be home to rescue animals that cannot be returned to the wild.

Tim Husband, the park’s technical director, said that two of his priorities will be animal welfare and education.

“It will be a jewel in the Dubai crown and it will show the rest of the world that there are people here who care about wildlife,” Mr Husband said. “You won’t be able to see it all in one day.”

The park will have a hotel complex by 2020.

“On a bad day, we would expect no fewer than 7,000 people through the gate,” said Mr Husband, adding that the park will foster ties with schools.

“Our generation has ruined the Earth, but it’s the kids who will make the decisions of the future. If you can get one kid passionate about wildlife and making the right decisions, then great,” he said.

The park replaces the current Dubai Zoo. It will host a breeding programme at the conservation centre that aims to release animals into the wild each year.

Those will include cats such as the caracal, the Arabian tahr – a mountain goat – oryx and gazelles. More info

By   www.thenational.ae

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