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Arabia's Wildlife Centre Arabia's wildlife centre

Discussion in 'United Arab Emirates' started by devilfish, 13 Jan 2012.

  1. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    This zoo sounds very interesting. Would it be possible to post the species lists with your review above?
     
  3. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    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/Wildlife Centre.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.
     
  4. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  6. dublinlion

    dublinlion Well-Known Member

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    great review devilfish. thanks for posting this. breaking the list into sections and summarys makes for an easier read.
     
  7. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    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. :)
     
  8. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    Permission has been granted and a few photos have been uploaded in the gallery.
     
  9. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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  10. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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  11. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  13. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  14. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  15. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  16. Jackwow

    Jackwow Well-Known Member

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    Guess I won't be going then. :(
     
  17. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    There's no harm in emailing them to ask.
     
  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    it isn't worth going just to look at the animals and the facility?
     
  19. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Why is that the case?
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    was that addressed to me? My post was a question directed at Jackwow, not a statement.