The first phase of Dubai's new mega safari park has been completed. The 150 million dirham (nearly £27 million) project will allow visitors to see animals from around the world in conditions close to their natural habitat. It's now on track for its scheduled 2014 finish.
The project will take up at least 120 hectares over a former land-fill site. Once completed it will house the animals from the current 1.5 hectare Dubai Zoo, such as the Arabian wolf. Alongside the zoo and safari areas (where animals will be separated into 'villages' by region) the completed destination will include a golf course, butterfly park and botanical gardens. Dubai Municipality, who are running the project, have released an artists impression of the finished landmark.
Dubai Municipality say water will be a key element and work will now begin on introducing wadis, waterfalls and areas for boating activities. Hussain Nassir Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News, "Within two weeks, we will start carrying out the works for the infrastructure and work on the water feature package. The schedule is going according to plan and will be completed by the end of next year." He added, "The first phase took time to complete because it used to be a landfill, so we had to clean and level the site."
Because of Dubai's hot weather, steps need to be taken to include climate control for the animals who aren't native to the UAE. Lootah explained, "One of the other main challenges was designing the zoo because we had to keep in consideration the summer heat as it can get very hot between the months of May and September".
The Municipality have been receiving advice from zoologists and will employ greenhouse technology to regulate temperatures. The project promises to be sustainable, and will be using solar energy and water recycling.