Dubai // Jumeirah //

Dubai Zoo

The first zoo on the Arabian peninsula when it was founded in 1967, Dubai Zoo, about 1.5km south of Jumeirah Mosque, serves as the overcrowded and rather unappealing home to a wide range of animals, almost all of whom arrived at the zoo having been taken from smugglers apprehended by UAE customs officials. The resultant mishmash of haphazardly acquired animals includes giraffes, tigers, lions, chimps, brown bears, Arabian wolves and oryx, plus assorted birds, though it’s difficult to see very much thanks to the ugly cages, covered in thick wire-mesh (installed, ironically, to protect the animals from visitors; when the zoo first opened, locals would turn up armed with sticks to prod depressed animals into action, and sadly the behaviour of many of today’s visitors is little better). Plans for a replacement zoo have been in the pipeline for over a decade now, and in 2012 it was announced that a spacious new wildlife park named Dubai Safari will be created on the city outskirts, off the Hatta road, with a provisional opening date of the end of 2014 – although whether this ever actually sees the light of day is anyone’s guess.