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  #1
Arabia's wildlife centre
Old 13-01-2012

This magnificent collection is probably one of the world’s best zoos dedicated to native species. Devoted to Arabian wildlife, Arabia’s wildlife centre is the public part of Sharjah’s breeding centre for endangered Arabian wildlife, with representatives on display from many of the breeding centre’s focus species.
Located in a museum complex (Sharjah desert park) some 20 miles outside Sharjah’s city centre, this centre is renowned for keeping the visitor comfortably indoors at all times, whether the animals are in indoor or outdoor enclosures. A large indoor aviary (with Arabian hares), reptile and nocturnal houses, and large outdoor enclosures for Arabian ungulates are among the outstanding exhibits.
I am happy to send species lists (compiled from my visit) to anyone who’s interested.
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  #2
Old 13-01-2012

This zoo sounds very interesting. Would it be possible to post the species lists with your review above?
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  #3
Old 14-01-2012

It's quite a long and heavy list so I've broken it down into sections, as well as a brief summary of each area:


On entering the centre and walking past the main desk, there’s a dark room with a big screen showing footage of endangered Arabian animals. After walking through the room, there’s a large reptile room, with a big enclosure for desert monitors in the centre and smaller tanks/vivaria for snakes, lizards, toads, fish and arthropods all around.

Animal list for reptile room:

Hardwicke’s rat snake
Black desert cobra (Walterinnesia sp.)
Blue-headed agama
Arabian cobra
Crowned leaf-nosed snake
Arabian sand boa
Steppe agama
Fringe-toed lizard
Spatulate-tailed rock gecko
Semaphore gecko
Carter’s semaphore gecko
Arabian toad-headed agama
Oman carpet viper
Arabian horned viper
Levantine viper
Wadi racer
Diadem snake
Sand snake
Saw-scaled viper
Malpolon moilensis
Brown house snake
Cat snake
Puff adder
Yellow-bellied house gecko
Ocellated skink
Sandfish
Banded-tail rock gecko
Large-headed ground gecko
Button-scaled ground gecko
Large-scaled gecko
Fan-toed gecko
Dhofar toad
Arabian toad
[Arabian] green toad
Caspian terrapin
Garra smarti
Azraq killifish
Arabian killifish
Dunsire’s cave fish
Jordanian logsucker
Cyprinion microphthalmus muscatensis
Carasobarbus apoensis
Cyprinion acinaces acinaces
Veiled chameleon
Grey monitor
Jewel beetle
Praying mantis (Mantodea mantodea)
Assorted grasshopper species
Water scorpion
Black bush cricket
Jayakar’s lizard
Ground beetles
Assorted scorpions



The second main area is a large indoor aviary for native birds and Arabian hares. It is very well-themed with large boulders, waterfalls and a flamingo pool. One darkened side room houses skittering frogs, and another (a cave) houses Egyptian fruit bats and Omani blind cave fish. Glass windows near the far end of the aviary look into indoor enclosures for Schmidtz’s caracal, Indian grey mongoose and sand cats.

Animal list for this area:

Skittering frog
Arabian hare
Egyptian fruit bat
Blind cave fish
Omani blind cave fish
Grey francolin
Philby’s partridge
Stone curlew
Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse
Red-vented bulbul
Ruppell’s weaver
Lesser flamingo
Macqueen’s [houbara] bustard
Schmidtz’s caracal
Indian grey mongoose
Sand cat
Laughing dove
Tristram’s grackle
Red-wattled plover
Bruce’s green pigeon
Black-winged stilt
Indian silverbill
White-cheeked bulbul
[Juvenile] Eurasian oystercatcher
[Black-tailed?] Godwit
Common redshank
Dusky turtle dove



The next section is a series of nocturnal exhibits. The enclosures are spread over two main rooms, the first for carnivorous and insectivorous mammals (and porcupines) and the second for small rodents. Just before leaving this area there’s an enclosure for desert eagle owls. The enclosures here, as elsewhere, are extremely well done, and are excellent displays of the animals within.

Animal list for this area:

Gordon’s wildcat
White-tailed mongoose
Small-spotted genet
Arabian red fox
Ruppell’s fox
Golden jackal
Blanford’s fox
Honey badger
Indian crested porcupine
Ethiopian hedgehog
Long-eared hedgehog
Brandt’s hedgehog
[Arabian?] spiny mouse
House mouse
Turkish spiny mouse
Egyptian spiny mouse
Golden spiny mouse
Wagner’s gerbil
Cheesman’s gerbil
Arabian jird
Fat sand rat
Lesser Egyptian jerboa
Desert eagle owl
Libyan jird
Fat-tailed gerbil
Large Aden gerbil
Sundevall’s jird
Nile rat
Black rat



Next is the restaurant, in a circular pavilion with glass windows all around which look out onto a brilliant, large enclosure for ungulates, hyrax and a few birds. A great place to sit down and relax for a while.

Animal list for restaurant enclosure:

Greater flamingo
Pink-backed pelican
Nubian ibex
Rock hyrax
Arabian oryx
Ostrich
Sand gazelle



And the final section is a series of carnivore/ baboon enclosures with a massive area for gazelles to roam in the background.

Animals on display here are:

Arabian mountain gazelle
Hamadryas baboon
Arabian wolf
Striped hyena
Arabian leopard
Cheetah



EDIT: Just thought I'd include a link to the official web page and a brief statement on each of the four photos they've published to help visualise: http://www.breedingcentresharjah.com...%20Centre.html

The first photo shows a viewing area for one of the carnivore enclosures. The second shows a very small section of the large walkthrough aviary. The third photo shows one of the side-bays in the reptile room for snake or lizard enclosures. The fourth is a view from the rocky cliffs for hyrax & ibex in the restaurant enclosure; the restaurant is the round building with a blue roof.
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  #4
Old 14-01-2012

Thank you very much for the virtual tour devilfish. This zoo looks very cool. Do you know if they have breeding programs for augmenting or restoring wild animal populations? This sounds like THE place to go if one is interested in the wildlife of the Arabian Peninsula.
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  #5
Old 14-01-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidBrown View Post
Do you know if they have breeding programs for augmenting or restoring wild animal populations?
Thanks. The majority of breeding is done at the nearby breeding centre which is closed to the public, but is a member of EAZA and is listed on ISIS. A quick look on ISIS will show that their breeding programmes are not strictly limited to Arabian species and most appear to be quite successful. I'd imagine that the ultimate purpose of these programmes (after building up a decent captive population) would be to augment or restore wild populations. Apparently they are also the international headquarters for breeding Arabian leopards:

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife
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  #6
Old 14-01-2012

great review devilfish. thanks for posting this. breaking the list into sections and summarys makes for an easier read.
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  #7
Old 07-11-2012

As one of the world's most highly recommended zoos, it's a shame that there's only one photo in the gallery (of the building's exterior). I have requested permission from the centre to post a few more photos.
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  #8
Old 08-11-2012

Permission has been granted and a few photos have been uploaded in the gallery.
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  #9
Old 01-05-2013

1.1 Arabian tahr born at the zoo.

Two Arabian tahrs born at desert park
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  #10
Old 01-05-2013

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Originally Posted by kiang View Post
1.1 Arabian tahr born at the zoo.

Two Arabian tahrs born at desert park
Great news!
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  #11
Old 27-09-2013

Going to be in Dubai Thursday and Friday next week so really want to go here, although other commitments may make that difficult. Will definitely try though.

Devilfish, how long would you say it would take to get around it without rushing?
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  #12
Old 27-09-2013

Not that I have much desire to visit this area of the Middle East in general - my interests being more towards the former Byzantine Empire - but I would love to visit this collection.
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  #13
Old 28-09-2013

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Originally Posted by devilfish View Post
...I have requested permission from the centre to post a few more photos.
Devilfish, did you have to request permission to take photos? I ask because the friends I'm staying with in Dubai have been there twice and they say photography is not allowed and they will even take your camera off you.
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  #14
Old 28-09-2013

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Originally Posted by Jackwow View Post
Devilfish, how long would you say it would take to get around it without rushing?
A minimum 1.5 - 2 hours would be ok but you could easily spend much longer there.

I took a taxi straight from the Dubai Mall and spent the afternoon in Sharjah after snorkelling in the Mall's main tank in the morning.
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  #15
Old 28-09-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackwow View Post
Devilfish, did you have to request permission to take photos? I ask because the friends I'm staying with in Dubai have been there twice and they say photography is not allowed and they will even take your camera off you.
Photography is strictly forbidden. I've heard of them confiscating mobile phones. Security is also quite tight. Because of this, I also asked specific permission to post photos on here.
You'd have to email in advance to ask for any permission (there's a good chance they won't even reply). If you're having trouble, PM me; I might be able to dig up a phone number for you to try once you're local.
 


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