AROUND AND ABOUT

The croc and the monkey



by

Silvia Radan

Published: Sat 25 Feb 2012, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:01 PM

They are not really friends, but they have moved in together at Al Ain Zoo. Several Vervet monkeys and a Nile crocodile are the newest exhibit here and the interesting part is that they are sharing an outdoors home, together with some terrapins too, so visitors can see previously unseen natural behaviour. All these species are actually living in the same habitat in the wild and Al Ain Zoo tries to recreate that habitat as closely as possible.

“It is not acceptable to house animals in sterile, isolated environments. Keeping animals in a mixed species enclosure provides them with behavioral enrichment and also enhances the visitor’s experience. The exhibit has been structured in such a way that the Vervet monkeys can easily distance themselves from the crocodile as needed. We are closely monitoring the behavior of the monkeys, terrapins and crocodile and are confident the crocodile poses no threat to the other animals in the enclosure,” explained Dr. Arshad Toosy, acting chief Life Sciences and Conservation at the Zoo.

Having acknowledged the docile behaviour of one of its Nile crocodiles, Al Ain Zoo have moved the animal from the indoor pool it shared with terrapins in the Reptile House to an outdoor pool within the Vervet monkey exhibit. Recently, this Nile crocodile was observed basking in the sun while laying at the edge of the pool, which cools in winter months. As for the monkeys, they have adapted themselves well to the presence of the crocodile and are often seen by the zookeepers teasing the crocodile for enjoyment.

Vervet monkeys use different sounds to warn of different types of predators. They have distinct calls to warn of the sighting of a leopard, a snake or an eagle. They are also known to be excellent swimmers, in addition to their speedy skills of running and climbing trees. The Vervet monkey is an arboreal monkey, which means that it spends most of its time in the safety of the trees.

Nile crocodiles have brains and hearts that are more advanced than those of any other living reptiles. In contrast to lizards, they have a “high walk.” They swim with their tails, but their hind feet are webbed and can be used to submerge quickly. They are known for producing at least six different vocal signals.

Brunch with a view

A LAVISH LATE lunch at the feet at the Arabian sea may sound too good to be true, but it is possible at the very young St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. The hotel has announced it is now offering Friday brunches at Olea, its Mediterranean-influenced restaurant. Located on level one, this all-day dinning restaurant has a beautiful terrace right on the doorstep of the pristine sandy beach.

Offering a wide spread of Mediterranean fair, rich with tapenades, traditional tomato bread and live cooking stations, the restaurant will also include wide selection of fresh seafood and grilled meats. There is also a touch of Far Eastern cuisine, so all you really need is a healthy appetite!

Guests can choose from three different options of Spanish beverages as well as reds, whites and bubbly. For the special St. Regis experience, the Olea’s chefs will offer you the opportunity to try the exclusive pride of St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort — the Arabian Snapper, based on the signature cocktail the Bloody Mary, which was created by Fernand Petiot at St. Regis New York in 1934.

Children will be amused by talented entertainers with bubble shows, magic tricks, plate spinning and face painting. All food for children, from starters to desserts will be served as a pass-around. Olea Brunch is from 12 to 4 pm. Prices are Dh300 including soft drinks and juices, Dh385 with grape, grain and Spanish beverages and Dh450 with free flowing bubbly. For children up to 12 years the brunch is free.

The hotel is also taking reservations now for a special offer to celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day, which will be on May 13 (US). Thus, St. Regis Saadiyat is offering residents and guests the chance to pamper their beloved mothers with the luxurious ‘Indulgence’ spa package. Priced from Dh1650 per person, the offer includes one-night stay (single occupancy), breakfast at Olea, one 60-minute massage and one 30-minute facial per stay at Iridium Spa, and the signature St. Regis Butler Service.

The resort’s Iridium Spa, featuring 12 treatment rooms, offers several different treatments using internationally renowned Babor products, from Ayurvedic treatments, Thai and Balinese specialty treatments to signature skincare treatments. There is also a full array of massages and facials for individuals or couples, in addition to the Vichy showers.

Have you got talent?

THERE IS A new cool spot in Abu Dhabi, thanks to the Sheraton resort here. The hotel has just opened last Thursday (February 23) the B-Lounge by Beachcomber. All the way down (or up) from the resort’s swimming pool to the beach the cafe-cum-lounge-cum-stage is meant as a place of relaxation and fun.

The resort’s amphitheatre - not used in a very long time - has now been fitted with Arabian cushions, pillows and Moorish lamps. This is where the daring action is going to happen in the very near future. Every Thursday night everyone who claims to have talent is welcomed to come and show it off by performing here. The “Open Mic” nights — another first for Abu Dhabi — have not started yet, but they will very soon - or so the hotel promises. The chill out lounge nestled in the lush palm tree garden of the resort area, will feature a bar, a fire pit for bonfires occasional live performances and a DJ playing popular chill out tunes. It is open daily from 6pm onwards.

—silvia@khaleejtimes.com


More news from