WAM: Al Ain Zoo, which is home to nearly 4,000 animals from around the world, 30 percent of which are endangered, also offers great support for conservation efforts by participating in 59 breeding programmes.
Since its establishment more than 52 years ago, Al Ain Zoo has been able to achieve great success in conserving wildlife, protecting animals and providing them with the environment to live in peace and safety, as well as nurturing endangered animals from wrongful human practices and urbanisation.
With an outstanding track record, Al Ain Zoo follows an international standard for best practices related to the conservation of endangered animals and the protection of wildlife.
Efforts began in 1968 and were initially created to protect the Arabian oryx and bustard. Following that success, work went on with further breeding efforts and veterinary care for other rare and critically endangered species, including the dama gazelle, addax, Arabian sand cat, Arabian leopard, scimitar-horned oryx, and the Arabian tahr. Many of these are almost or completely extinct in the wild; a result of human practices such as illegal trade, habitat loss and poaching.
Myyas Ahmed Al Quarqaz, General Curator at the Life Sciences Department in Al Ain Zoo said, “Protecting animals and wildlife spans across quality breeding programmes, studying genetic diversity, and providing veterinary care. We implement a strategy focusing and several long-term pillars including education and awareness, environmental initiatives, learning through exploration, veterinary training, attracting young talents and international programmes such as our partnership with Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. We also organise events and conferences and participate in relevant events locally and internationally, providing our expertise and offering concerned and specialised parties with animal data through Zoological Information Management Software, ZIMS, the largest international software used to store animal data around the world.”
“We work closely with partners including the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the International Union for Conservation of Nature – Species Survival Commission, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, Sahara Conservation Fund, the Conservation Planning Specialist Group, and others,” he added.
Facing the spread of COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges globally, Al Ain Zoo continues to build on its portfolio with programmes and strategies ensuring the health and safety of both animals and members of staff, resulting in international commendation for efforts in conservation during the pandemic and ensuring business success and continuity.