Advancing on plans to develop a new $55 million safari park, Qatar is prepping its existing Doha Zoo for demolition.
This month, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has asked local contractors to bid on a project that involves razing all structures inside the zoo, which is located on Furousiya Street off of Al Waab, near Aspire Park.
The 30-year-old facility was closed suddenly in August 2012, amid criticism of outdated facilities and poor treatment of animals.
The Ministry of Environment has previously said that the zoo would undergo an overhaul that would result in a development three times larger than the existing one.
The new development is expected to be completed in 2017 and would be akin to a safari park, Dr. Qassim Nasser Al Qahtani, head of the Animal Resources Department, told QNA in January.
According to the tender posted on Ashghal’s website, the Dream Park adjacent to the Doha Zoo will also be closed later this year and demolished. When the park opened in 2010, it was billed as the biggest outdoor entertainment center in Qatar.
Fate of animals
Previously, it was understood that when the zoo closed, its animals were relocated to farms across Qatar, but that no longer appears to be the case. According to the project timeline:
The animals and residential staff will be gradually relocated to alternative facilities off site from November 2013 to April 2014. (This will release the occupied zoo facilities in a phased sequence for demolition to be completed by the end of May 2014 in preparation of the permanent works).
Speaking to Doha News, a Ministry of Environment spokeswoman confirmed that the animals’ relocation is still in process:
“(The MoE) seeks to guarantee the animals’ welfare and to supervise their move from the zoo to a special farm where they will stay until the program of developing the zoo ends.”
Meanwhile, another tender floated by Ashghal this month sheds some light on the fate of the zoo animals.
The project involves the construction of an animal containment facility off of Al Shamal Highway at the Al Zubara Interchange, and the contract states:
The scope is to develop a purpose built animal containment facility that will house the existing animals from the Doha Zoo. The facilities will be split into 4 zones, which will predominantly group the animals by species or risk.
The site also requires staff accommodation and administration facilities which are to be temporary facilities at first if the permanent facilities cannot be constructed in time to allow the animal relocation to commence.
However, that facility will take at least a year to build. And in the interim, during which the demolition of the zoo is expected to take place, it is unclear where the animals will be housed.
Credit: Photo by Hafiz Issadeen