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Al Ain Zoo unveils latest expansion projects

al ain zoo nature reseve

Al Ain Zoo has released further information about its expansion projects, which include an outdoor exhibition for penguins, a rescue centre, a breeding centre for sand cats, and an open-air chimpanzee exhibit.

Last year, Abu Dhabi-based Musanada started construction on the new Reptile Park, Elephant Safari, Gorilla Sanctuary and Sand Cat Conservation Centre.

However, additional expansion plans include Koala Land, Chimpanzee Forest, Al Ain Nature Reserve, Rescue Centre, Penguin Beach, Elephant Exhibit, Event Land, and Sand Cat Breeding Centre.

Koala Land is unique to the Middle East and covers an area of 1,650 square meters. Visitors can watch the marsupials from wooden buildings.

Koala Land and Penguin Beach at Al Ain Zoo

Chimpanzee Forest is the biggest open-air chimpanzee exhibit in the Middle East. The new natural habitat features wooden structures with connected rock formations and elevated platforms.

The Al Ain Nature Reserve covers an area of 13,823 square meters, with Al Ain Zoo currently home to approximately 400 threatened species.

The Sand Cat Breeding Centre is the world’s first centre dedicated entirely to the rare animals, while the Rescue Centre specialises in the care and rehabilitation of dangerous animals in the city of Al Ain.

“Unfortunately animals are still being smuggled into this region illegally,” said Mark Craig, COO of Al Ain Zoo (via The National). “This rescue centre will offer care for many types of animals from small cats to those as big as rhinos.

Elephant Exhibit boasts natural local plants

“They will be looked after until the team can find a suitable home for them be it in another zoo, back into the wild or even staying here.”

On the Sand Cat Breeding Centre, Craig added: “This centre will help improve breeding results and we will work closely with other zoos on exchange programmes.”

Penguin Beach, the first outdoor exhibition for penguins in the Middle East, features an external area for the penguins with a pool and beach, as well as walkways for visitors and landscaped sculptures.

As for the Elephant Exhibit, it is landscaped with natural local plants, as well as trees and shrubs. It covers an area of 6,200 square metres.

Forest for chimpanzees and Al Ain Nature Reserve

Event Land, as the name suggests, is an area for hosting events and festivals. It includes an outdoor theatre, paved areas and walkways, a children’s play area, and landscaped gardens.

“Al Ain Zoo is participating in every possible way to conserve and protect wildlife animals,” said Ghaneim Al Hajeri, director general of Al Ain.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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