RAK Zoo opens its doors to the public

RAK Zoo opened its doors for the first time on Tuesday with its owner and residents positive it will help boost tourism in the emirate.
A white lioness takes a rest at the newly opened Rak Zoo in Ras Al Khaimah. Sarah Dea / The National
A white lioness takes a rest at the newly opened Rak Zoo in Ras Al Khaimah. Sarah Dea / The National

Ras Al Khaimah Zoo opened its doors for the first time yesterday, with its owner and residents confident it will help boost tourism in the emirate.

The zoo, located in Al Dagdaga, is owned by Jasim Ali, general commander of RAK Police, and the first phase of the project has so far cost Dh6 million.

Mr Ali said he was pleased with the opening-day turn out. “There were actually many tourists from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar who followed me on Instagram and Facebook, and a large number of tourists from outside UAE came to the opening,” he said.

The zoo features African lions, white lions, white tigers, a rare golden tiger, panthers, wolves, deer and birds.

“The golden tiger that I have in my zoo is the first one in the whole of the GCC,” said Mr Ali. “In addition, it is important how I treat and act directly with the animals to attract visitors.”

During the summer the animals are kept in their own chilled isolation rooms to protect them from the unforgiving temperatures.

The next phase of the project will include the building of an air-conditioned area featuring rare reptiles, birds and an aquarium. It is expected to be completed in the next one-and-a-half years at an extra cost of Dh15 million, Mr Ali said.

There are 45 different types of animals in the zoo, and Mr Ali is planning to increase the number to more than 2,000.

“During the year, we will develop the zoo and over the next 40 years will develop it more and more, because the development doesn’t stop,” he said.

The residents of RAK were pleased with the opening of a zoo in their emirate.

Abdulaziz Ahmed Al Hafri, a 19-year-old Emirati student who was born in RAK, said the zoo would attract many tourists to the emirate.

“The thing that makes this zoo attractive to tourists is having rare and endangered animals,” said Mr Al Hafri.

“It is also close to Saqr Park, about four kilometres away.”

Adbulla Mansour, from Syria, found the zoo nice, but was disappointed by the number of animals. “I thought it was going to be a huge zoo. That is why we came here, but it doesn’t have all kinds of animals or unique things that attracted me,” he said.

Ali Ahmad, a sales manager from Egypt, said the new zoo would boost tourism not only in RAK but in the surrounding emirates.

“It is a nice beginning in the emirate, but the zoo needs more development by increasing the number and types of animals and trees around and inside the park and the animals’ cages,” he said.

“I’d also prefer to change the ground to asphalt to make it easier for families who have strollers.”

Hussam Makhol, a Syrian expatriate and a lover of animals, was excited with the opening of the zoo.

“When I heard about the zoo, I came straight to look at the animals and the environment,” said the 42-year-old hotel manager. “Besides the beautiful nature of the emirate, this zoo will attract more tourists.

“The location and space of the zoo are great, in addition to its design.”


Published: September 23, 2014 04:00 AM


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