Baby boom in Dubai Zoo

DUBAI - Dubai Zoo has witnessed a baby boom this summer with 10 new-born animals and three birds having been added to the over 1,000 inmates of the zoo.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 24 Aug 2004, 10:13 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:21 PM

According to Dr Mohammed Ali Reza Khan, head of Zoo Section at Dubai Municipality's Public Parks and Horticulture Department, this summer was joyous for both the zoo staff and the visitors to welcome the new guests. "All the births were during the past three months and were normal. The mothers and babies were doing extremely well despite the harsh weather," said Dr Khan.

He added that the new-borns include that of Mouflon or the Laristan Sheep which is the smallest of the world's wild sheep and is confined only to a couple of reserves near the city of Lar in Iran. A mountain dweller, this animal frequents the region from Iran to Pakistan.

There were two babies of Barbary Sheep, which is a majestic sheep from the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and an endangered species. Males have horns and long hair on the throat.

The Hog Deer, which is a common spotless deer of Bangladesh, India and Nepal, also gave birth to a baby this summer, said Dr Khan. This deer has nearly become extinct in Bangladesh and Pakistan and its movement is unlike a deer but similar to a hog, hence the common name. Only males have antlers that are dropped after each breeding season.

Nubian ibex, another endangered species from Northern Africa and is commonly seen in the alpine regions of the desert, also gave birth to a baby. The animals are excellent climbers on steep rocks and climbing is their best defence. They are usually found in small herds of 20 or less. Its mating occurs in the fall, followed by a gestation period of five to six months. Within 24 hours of birth, young ibex are able to walk. Within 48 hours of birth, they can run and jump, and within a week, they can follow their mother practically any place she may go, including the steepest cliffs. The life span is 10 - 18 years.

"There were two Green Monkey babies. This monkey is called a Vervet Monkey and it comes from the south of Sahara in Africa. It has wide distribution in Africa, from southern Ethiopia and Somalia to the Cape Province. It is basically vegetarian but would not mind taking animal matter whenever available and is often used in bio-medical research. Dubai Zoo specimens are breeding well. We have donated additional specimens to several locations in the Arabian Peninsula," said Dr Khan.

The new summer births at Dubai Zoo also included three babies of Bonnet Macaque, another monkey species that lives in India. The monkey is similar to the more common rhesus Macaque but has a very long tail and the hair over the forehead radiate backwardly and hence the common name Bonnet (resembling bonnet of a car) Macaque. It breeds also well in Dubai Zoo. From among the feathered friends, the zoo has got three chicks of African Grey Parrot, which can be found in villages of west, and central Africa from Sierra Leone east to Cameroon, including Zaire, Uganda, West Kenya and northwest Tanzania, as well as on the Sesse islands in Lake Victoria.

Dubai Zoo received 108,022 visitors during the past four months from April through July 2004, up from the 89,224 visitors during the same period in 2003, said Dr Khan. "This represents a 21 per cent rise in the number of visitors to the Dubai Zoo during the period under review," he said.

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