The temporarily closed Doha Zoo has recently welcomed its newest resident, a baby giraffe, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) announced this week.
— وزارة البلدية | Ministry Of Municipality (@albaladiya) May 18, 2015
The calf is a reticulated giraffe, also known as the Somali giraffe, due to its original habitat in southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya.
According to the MMUP, the life span of the animal is between 25 and 28 years. Pregnancy in this species of giraffe lasts from 453 to 464 days, or about 15 months, Baladiya added.
The 30-year old Doha Zoo, which is located opposite Aspire Park and Villaggio Mall, was abruptly closed in August 2012 for renovations, after being criticized for its small size, outdated facilities and treatment of animals.
The site is expected to be replaced with a multi-million dollar safari park that is scheduled to open to visitors in late 2017.
Last month, Qatar’s public works authority awarded a QR45 million (US$12.3 million) contract to a local company to demolish the buildings and facilities that are currently on site.
Speaking to Doha News, an MMUP spokesperson said today that the zoo animals continue to live in the old facility, but he was unsure when they would be moved to make way for the demolition.
Last year, Ashghal said that the animals would remain at the former zoo for at least another year, until an animal containment facility is built to house them when construction moves forward.
A spokeswoman previously told Doha News:
“The health and wellness of the Doha Zoo’s animals are of utmost priority. The enabling works that have commenced will be undertaken while ensuring the protection and maintenance of all the natural environments of the zoo.”
The temporary facility is located in Rawdhat Al Faras, off of Al Shamal Highway at the Al Zubara Interchange. That building would include residences for caretakers and a veterinary clinic.
Meanwhile, Aswan Trading and Contracting Company is scheduled to spend the next 14 months preparing the site for the main construction, as well as preserving and maintaining the “trees and natural environment” during excavation works.
The new zoo is expected to be seven times bigger than the current zoo and will host some 3,000 animals.
It will be divided into several regions themed around the natural and climatic features of three continents: An “African safari” characterized by forests and savanas, an “Asia woodland” with mountains and a South American rainforest.
Each region is expected to be accessible through multiple safari trips by car, boat and foot.
When completed, there is also supposed to be a cable car link from Villaggio mall and a “seven-star” treehouse hotel, in addition to themed restaurants and shops, and a large underground parking facility.