The Dubai Zoo
Dubai Zoo is located in the leafy suburb of Jumeirah in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai. As one of the most 'established' spaces in the area the trees here are more mature than any others around which give the area in which the collection is housed an oasislike feel. It is not the only zoo in Dubai but it is the only public general collection. It is the responsibility of Dubai Municipality.
The Dubai zoo has always been and remains a popular collection. There are a fair number of daily visitors and at weekends and holidays it can become very crowded. This in spite of criticism. Dubai Zoo reviews are not uncommon. Sadly, most of these are people who do not know the collection and have little or no knowledge of captive wildlife.
The collection is open to the public every day except Tuesday for a nominal entrance fee.
Animals within this tiny Dubai zoo collection include Gorilla, Giraffe, Arabian Wolves, Lions, Tigers and others. It is reputed to hold over 200 species. It has very little claim to fame but has bred many of the species it keeps including Arabian Wild Cat and Chimpanzee.
Dubai Zoo History
The Dubai Zoo started in the late 1960s as the private collection of an Austrian engineer who was working in Dubai. Otto J. Bulart built his zoo on a two hectare plot on what was at the time, a deserted piece of land on Jumeirah beach. Even in those early days the collection housed large cats, bears, chimpanzees and orangutans.
Although there has been some rebuilding over the years the collection has in essence changed very little in appearance and, due to land availibility expanded hardly at all. Some of the archaic original buildings still exist.
Although the Dubai zoo is undoubtedly the oldest zoo in the United Arab Emirates it is not, as some claim, the oldest zoo on the Arabian peninsula. There was an established public zoo in the State of Kuwait back in the 1950s. (Though I suppose some may judge Kuwait not to be on the peninsula).
In 1971 Otto Bulart was approached by the former ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, HH Shaikh Zayed who asked him to build a zoo in Al Ain. The Dubai Zoo was then taken over by Dubai Municipality and was run and managed by Horst Kauch and his wife Anne-Marie Kauch.
In 2010 the management of the collection is the responsibility of Dr. Mohammed Ali Reza Khan who moved here from the Al Ain Zoo in 1989.
Dubai Zoo 2008
Why Is The Zoo Still As It Was?
Dubai Zoo has many critics. It is definitely way past its sell by date and is rather cramped. This feeling of abandonment is probably worsened when one sees the rest of Dubai with its buildings and facilities dripping in affluence.
Why you may wonder has the zoo taken a back seat in the general redevelopment of Dubai. One has to appreciate that as the oldest zoo in the Emirates that Dubai Zoo holds a special place in the hearts and memories of every United Arab Emirates citizen born between 1967 and 1977. This was the zoo they visited as children. The place holds happy memories. They don't want it to change too much. This is one of the zoos they take their children and grandchildren today. An attack on Dubai Zoo is taken as a personal affront by many. Not the sort of sensible approach to make to the people in authority today. The managers and rulers of the country.
Dubai Zoo is too small. It is definitely in need of change and development but the zoo is not cruel. It always has been run and managed by people who care. Sometimes a little bit misguided perhaps...but people who genuinely care! There has never been animal abuse or cruelty. The diets have always been good. The place has always been clean. It has been utilised by schools, acts as a rescue centre, has a basic enrichment programme, educational signage and more. It is unfair to criticise those who manage and work within any zoo as to the available space as this is outside of their control.
I don't believe that Dubai Zoo should be closed. I believe that it should always be there on Jumeirah beach. It should however be be redeveloped and changed and could learn much from the best zoo in the world which is just down the road apiece in the next door Emirate of Sharjah.
Discussions and rediscussions over a new Dubai Zoo have been going on now since the 1980s and have still not come to anything. A new public zoo is definitely needed but I believe this leafy little collection should remain. Meanwhile the United Arab Emirates contain some of the most interesting private animal collections in the world.
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