Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Al Ain Zoo 45th Anniversary Celebrations
H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan
Leads Al Ain Zoo 45th Anniversary Celebrations
-- VIP event commemorates zoo’s accomplishments as the destination prepares to kick off UAE National Day activities --
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 26 November 2013: Al Ain Zoo today welcomed guests for its 45th anniversary celebration, a spectacular event held under the patronage and in the attendance of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate; His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Chairman of the Zoo & Aquarium Public Institution in Al Ain; and His Excellency Sheikh Hazza Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Undersecretary of Dewan of Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi.
Hosted by His Excellency Ghanim Mubarak Al Hajeri, Director General of Al Ain Zoo, the event programme paid tribute to the zoo’s notable achievements as a global leader in arid wildlife conservation and as a major UAE tourist destination, as the zoo prepares to welcome the public to enjoy National Day activities until 2nd December.
Speaking at the event H.E. Ghanim Al Hajeri said:
“We are here to recognise where we have come from and how Al Ain Zoo has developed into a key player in wildlife conservation as well as a much-admired visitor destination, contributing to a much greater vision – Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. We have much to celebrate as we are also approaching the 42nd National Day, a symbol of pride for the entire UAE.”
The event kicked off with a ribbon-cutting of the new Main Entrance, followed by a tour throughout the zoo to the latest enhancements including the new Cat House, Mixed Asian Exhibit, and Children’s Zoo. Guests then took in a traditional Harbiya performance, before a video presentation showcasing Al Ain Zoo’s past, present and future into 2015, with Al Hajeri then taking centre stage to speak of the zoo’s future aspirations in further detail:
“Through its distinguished education, research and conservation programmes, Al Ain Zoo is building a reputation for excellence and leadership in the international zoo community. Among our chief objectives is the education and inspiration of youth – and Emiratis in particular – to cultivate the next generation of scientists and environmentalists and engage them in our mission. But our efforts do not end with Al Ain Zoo alone; we are continuously making progress in the expansion project, and we intend for the experience to be so profound that it will set new standards for design and provide an innovative arena for interaction between people and wildlife.”
The 45th anniversary celebrations will carry in through National Day, for which Al Ain Zoo has prepared an action-packed programme of activities. Until and including 2nd December, visitors can immerse themselves in UAE history and culture with a specially-designed heritage village, a photo exhibition, henna, an Emirati fashion display and local cuisine. Guests can also take in traditional Harbiya dance performances, a marching parade, a bird show, and other festivities.
Al Ain Zoo was founded in 1968 by the Late Sheikh Zayed with the vision of promoting conservation and preservation of the desert habitat and its creatures. The zoo has successfully introduced conservation and breeding programs for a number of species over the past decades, including oryx, gazelle, the Arabian Leopard and the Houbara bustard. The zoo remains actively involved in conservation projects around the world and is a member of the World Association for Zoo and Aquariums (WAZA), with plans to host WAZA’s annual conference in 2015. Additionally, it recently founded the Arabian Zoos and Aquariums Association, the first of its kind in the region.
Home to roughly 4,000 animals, Al Ain Zoo is one of the UAE’s leading tourist attractions. In October, the grounds reopened following a summer of enhancements that introduced upgraded exhibits, activities and dining choices. The zoo contributes to the steady growth of Al Ain’s tourism sector not only as an entertainment destination, but also by educating youth about wildlife through a range of activities and programmes in close coordination with educational institutions.