Dubai zoo draws record visitors

DUBAI - The Dubai Zoo received in 2003 a total of 366,023 visitors, the highest since it was opened 12 years ago, Dr Reza Khan, Head of the Zoo Section at Dubai Municipality told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.

By Zaigham Ali Mirza

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Published: Thu 8 Jan 2004, 12:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:19 AM

The figure includes 336,928 regular paid visitors, and 29,095 students from private and government schools.

"As against 2001, when the zoo received about 299,750 visitors, the figure this year is up by 66,273, whereas in comparison to the figure for 2002, there were 25,628 more visitors last year," Dr Khan said.

He pointed out that of the 29,095 student visitors, about 78.51 per cent or 22, 844 were from some 130 private schools, while the rest belonged to 289 government schools.

According to him the reason behind the continually growing popularity of Dubai Zoo is the variety of large and small animals it exhibits, and its small size, which allows visitors to go through the place in a fairly short period of time.

"Another reason is that we have continually been adding new species of different animals to our collection. We keep changing the pattern of the cages and continue to develop in the available space, and that is what increases the response from the members of the public," Dr Khan noted.

He pointed out that in 1990, the zoo had about 600 animals, and the collection then did not include giraffes, gorillas, and a few other animals that are very important for any zoo.

"Many of the animals confiscated at the airport, and those with private collectors keep ending up with us, and at one time our collection went up to 1,800 animals. For reasons of better management we have donated many of these animals to other zoos in the region and our present collection thus stands at 1,000," Dr Khan commented.

According to Dr Khan, the zoo's gorillas, again a result of a confiscation from the airport, are the biggest crowd pullers and are most popular with children and adults alike.

The sale of a variety of books at the zoo was also satisfactory last year. "During 2003, we sold some 13,346 copies of the painting book, about 3,180 copies of the English version of the zoo guide - whose Arabic version sold 2,559 copies, 140 copies of the Indigenous Trees of the UAE, and 56 copies of a book on the wild cats of the UAE," Dr Khan noted.

Zoo-ing in on facts

Number of animals in 1990: 600.

Number of animals in 2004: 1,000.

Number of visitors in 2002: 34,0395.

Number of visitors last year: 366,023 visitors (336,928 regular paid visitors and 29,095 students).

In 2001, the zoo received about 299,750 visitors.

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