Dubai Zoo

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Dubai Zoo
WP 20150801 15 54 54 Raw (20268647195).jpg
Date opened1 May 1967; 54 years ago (1967-05-01)
Date closed5 November 2017; 3 years ago (2017-11-05)
LocationDubai, United Arab Emirates
Coordinates25°13′21″N 55°15′24″E / 25.222375°N 55.256582°E / 25.222375; 55.256582Coordinates: 25°13′21″N 55°15′24″E / 25.222375°N 55.256582°E / 25.222375; 55.256582
Land area1.5 ha (3.7 acres)
No. of species230

Dubai Zoo (Arabic: حديقة حيوان دبي‎) was a 1.5-kilometre (0.93 mi) zoo located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was originally built in 1967 by a Dubai resident when Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai, permitted Otto J. Bulart to build a zoo on a two hectare plot in Jumeirah.[2] It is still the oldest zoo in the Arabian Peninsula. It was considered a Dubai landmark in the late 1960s as it indicated the "town's end".

In 1971 the management of the Dubai Zoo was taken over by the Dubai Municipality. During the first couple of years of its existence, the Dubai Zoo housed only a few animals like the big cats, monkeys and hoofed-animals. There was also a small aquarium with some fishes and reptiles. From May 1986 to May 1989, a part of the zoo was redesigned and rebuilt. From June 1989 to the present there has been constant re-designing and renovation. Dubai zoo is the first Arabian zoo to breed the rare chimpanzee and the Arabian or Gordon's wildcat (Felis silvestris gordoni).[citation needed]

In recent years, the Dubai Zoo has come under fire for the conditions in which its animals are housed. Animal rights activists and even hotels and tourist websites encourage the boycotting of the facility. Cages in which the animals are trapped were reportedly so small that the animals can barely move.[3] The zoo has closed since November 2017 and all animals were relocated to the new Dubai Safari Park. They no longer live in cages and have an open habitat with a lot more space to move around.


The zoo housed approximately 230 animal species. Among these are around 248 mammal specimens, including foxes, hyenas, pumas, Asiatic lions, jaguars, chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys, deer, bears, porcupines, giraffes, hippos, and Barbary sheep. Endangered species include Socotra shag or cormorant, Bengal tiger, gorilla, subspecies of grey wolf and Arabian wolf, Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), and the indigenous Gordon's wildcat. Birds include ostrich, golden eagle and parrots. Reptiles are represented by around 400 specimens.

Visitation and opening hours[edit]

Dubai Zoo attracted annually a large number of visitors. In 2008 the number of visitors was 336,346.[4]

Opening hours during summer were 10 am to 6 pm, and 10 am to 5:30 pm during winter.

Dubai Safari Park[edit]

Dubai Municipality planned to build a new zoo since at least 2003 to replace the old zoo.[5] Construction was to be completed by 2008 and the zoo would be sited variously at Mushrif Park or Dubailand at an estimated cost of US$55.6 million or AED 610 million. In February 2009, it was announced that the zoo project at Dubailand was on indefinite hold.[6][7][8]

On 11 February 2012 the municipality announced that it had commissioned a study to shift the two-hectare, government-run zoo from Jumeirah to new, world-class premises. Within two months a consultancy and action team had come up with the final concept, proposing a new location and required area, and recommending the allocation of space for each species according to international standards, said Hussain Lootah, the director general of the municipality.[9]

On 14 May 2012, it was announced by the Dubai Municipality that the animals from the overcrowded Dubai Zoo will be relocated to an open safari within the next two years. Officials said they will redevelop 400 hectares (990 acres) of land in Al Warqa'a for the safari project, at a cost of Dh150 million. The safari houses the existing zoo animals and also accommodates new ones. "The zoo is one of the issues and has been the big talk for many years"[This quote needs a citation] said Mr Hussain Lootah, the municipality's director general.

On 23 April 2013, Hussain Nassir Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality said that the first phase of the Dubai Safari has completed and the construction of the project will be completed by end of 2014.[10]

The ambitious Dubai Safari park was developed on land that has been previously a landfill. Excavation work started in September 2012. Dubai Safari Park is spread across 120 hectares of land and include a zoo, safari and butterfly park, botanical garden, resort, and golf course, in addition to educational and veterinary facilities. It features more than 1,000 animals and birds.[10]

The safari is divided into African, Asian and Arabian villages, with each village accommodating animals from those respective regions.[10] As of 5 November 2017, the old zoo has been closed down.[11]

The Dubai safari Park was opened on 12 December 2017 to the general public.

Picture gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". AZA. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Dubai Zoo". Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  3. ^ 2010-06-13 06:02 (13 June 2010). "Animal rights campaigners call attention to Dubai Zoo". Retrieved 18 September 2010.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Preliminary studies for new Dubai zoo underway UAE - The Official Web Site - News". Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  6. ^ "No respite for animals in cramped Dubai Zoo". gulfnews. 2 February 2009. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  7. ^ "gulfnews : Work on Dubai's new zoo set to start". 24 May 2007. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Zoo to move to Dubailand". 1 February 2007. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  9. ^ Kannan, Preeti (12 February 2012). "Dubai Zoo to move to a new location". Abu Dhabi Media. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "Dh150m Dubai Safari next year". Emirates 24/7. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Mass migration of animals across Dubai as zoo closes its doors". The National. Retrieved 17 March 2018.