From a simple zoo to a major reserve is the story of the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort in the rich emirates of Abu Dhabi. Recently, the Al Ain wildlife park was in the news after two extremely rare white lions arrived at the park. The park is currently under massive expansion mode for which a master plan has been put in place.
According to Hoda Ayache, an official of Al Ain Wildlife park and resort, “The expansion will [be] done in two phases. Among the plans include [a] resort hotel, conservation and breeding center, Arabian safari encampment, Asian safari encampment, residential safari lodge, African residential components, besides Arabian, African, and asian wildlife safari.”
She said, “Among the expansion is also the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre, which will also serve to raise awareness of sustainable living in a desert environment. Aside from the natural habitats, the wildlife park will include animal safaris, each over 100 hectares, displaying the desert and arid zones of Africa, Arabia, and Asia. It will also include a residential community within the park to create a surrounding that is in touch with nature.”
Phase 1 of the development will comprise part of the new core zoo, the Arabian and African safaris, resort, retail outlets, a residential community, and luxury camps, and is due for completion by the end of 2010.
Phase 2 will include the Asian safari and residential clusters. The core zoo will be completed by the end of 2011. The entire development is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
The Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort is based around the current Al Ain Zoo that was founded in 1967 by the late Sheikh Zayed, the Father of the Nation. Since its founding, the zoo has been a center for endangered species’ conservation and is internationally recognized for the successful breeding of desert antelopes, most notably the Arabian oryx.
With the introduction of white lions, which were a gift from the Sanbona Wildlife reserve in South Africa, and the launch of night safari (up to 10:00 pm), the Al Alin wildlife park is packed with visitors. Opening hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (summer from 4:00 to 7:00 pm). Entrance fees: AED 15 (adults), AED 10 (child), under 6: free.
Learn more at www.awpr.ae .