Al Ain Zoo in Abu Dhabi Is a Place for the Nature Lover
Abu Dhabi at one time used to conjure up visions of desert and dunes. This is changed to a considerable extent and now there are green belts where the sand has given way to lush greenery. One such place is the green belt at Al Ain about 120 km from the capital Abu Dhabi. This place also houses the zoo, which is laid out as per international specifications and as far as possible the animals are kept in natural surroundings. The zoo was founded in 1968 by the late Sheikh Zayed, the Father of the nation. The Wildlife Park covers an area of 400-hectare (990-acre) and is located in the foothills of Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain.
The zoo has an entrance fee of AED 100($25) and can be reached by taxi or car at any time. The drive takes about 2 hours and is a swell place to spend time with family and friends. The zoo houses a large species of the animal world, though it could do with more species from the subcontinent.
The only drawback is the weather and the heat that can be debilitating for some of the animals, but the zoo authorities are geared up to the task. The zoo is a vast spread and for the old and young. There is an electric trolley car that can whisk you around the zoo.
One good thing about the zoo is the care of animals. It was so disconcerting to read that at the Copenhagen zoo, two tigers were killed to make way for a fresh intake and earlier a Giraffe was culled and its meat is given to lions in front of young impressionable children. I am so glad that such obnoxious things do not happen at this zoo.
Exploring the Zoo
The zoo is spread over a vast area and for the enthusiast, it has a great variety. The biggest attractions are the Giraffe enclosures. Here you can purchase a feed for 10 AED($2.5) and feed the docile beasts with your hands. Seeing the Giraffes chomping away is a thrilling experience. One can also see the African crocodile and the African lion. On my last visit, I did not see the Great Asiatic lion, but I hope this lacuna will be filled. However, there is a white tiger from India. It is a delight watching this beast and it has an entire enclosure for him. The white tigers need great care and I can say that they are well looked after. One is reminded of 2 white tigers dying at the Indore zoo in India at Indore, one of them bitten by a cobra. One wonders how the cobra got into the tiger cage. No accidental death of any animal has been ever reported from this zoo, which is a feather in its cap
The African rhinoceros and the hippopotamus attract lots of visitors, but the great one horn Indian Rhino was missing the last time I visited the zoo. The African Rhinoceros is bigger than the Indian rhino, but it's a lovable beast and a pleasure to see the beasts sauntering around in their enclosures.
One of the exhibits I would like to see is the royal Bengal tiger, the most ferocious tiger in the world. I am sure a pair of then can be transported to this zoo as India is home to hundreds of these beasts.
There are wonderful bird enclosures and homes for docile animals like the blackbuck and the Arabian gazelle. The zoo has a wide variety of animals to entertain. One can video graph the beasts as a remembrance. An animal that caught my attention was the Nile crocodile. But Alligators from India are missing.
Many people feel that the zoo's all over the world should be banned. This is not a correct approach as these animal sanctuaries serve a purpose. One example is the white tiger, which would have become extinct in case it hadn't been nurtured and bred in a zoo. there are just about 500 white tigers in the world and almost all of them are in the zoo. The zoo thus serves a definite purpose in a human being's life.
The Al Ain zoo is very well maintained and an absolute delight. There is a cafeteria which serves snacks and cold drinks, which can be an enjoyable respite from the rigors of studying the animals in the zoo. The zoo is open during daylight hours up to 8 pm and there is are a regular stream of visitors throughout the day. It's a place to visit in Abu Dhabi.