Plans are under way to set up the Middle East’s first crocodile park in Dubai by the end of 2013, the Dubai Municipality announced on Tuesday.
To be named “Dubai Crocodile Park,” the facility will be located opposite Mushrif Park and will be close to the Dubai Safari that was announced earlier this year, an official told Khaleej Times.
“We are on the final stage of completing the contract details with a French firm but are yet to finalise the design. An underwater programme for the park that will allow visitors to watch the life of crocodiles under water is also under consideration,” said Faisal Juma Al Badaiwi, who heads the Investment Unit of the municipality’s Assets Management Department.
He said the project is estimated to cost about $10million. It will be contracted through a BOT agreement, with the condition that the firm that builds it will also operate it for the municipality for 15 years before handing it over to the civic body.
Al Badaiwi said the firm is expected to bring Nile crocodiles to the facility in Dubai. “We are planning to begin with some 35 to 40 crocodiles and later on, can go up to 100. If everything goes well, the park will be ready by the end of 2013.”
The crocodiles, he said, would be brought from the French facility run by the same company that has secured the certification of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
“They are already experienced in dealing with crocodiles as they have three such facilities in France. Crocodiles that are in excess in their French facility can be brought to Dubai. Special arrangements will be made for the crocodiles to live in this part of the world,” said Al Badaiwi.
“It will not only be an amusement park but also an educational destination where students can learn everything about crocodiles.”
The municipality is also working on a safari model project in Al Warqa to relocate hundreds of animals, birds and other creatures living in enclosures in the 45-year-old Dubai Zoo. “It’s a safari concept with a different flavour. Visitors will have to use the zoo’s vehicles to go around and watch the animals,” Director-General of the municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah, had said in May.