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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Ashghal releases new details about mega-zoo project

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Images courtesy of Ashghal

Hot on the heels of the country’s new tourism strategy, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) have released more details of one of Qatar’s future major attractions – an entirely re-worked, “world class” Doha Zoo.

Ashghal senior planner Gregory Clarkson told delegates at the Tourism in Tomorrow’s World conference in Doha yesterday that the new 75-hectare site would feature a cable car link from Villaggio mall and a “seven-star” treehouse hotel.

He added that a landscaped walkway will be built across Al Waab Street, linking Aspire Park with the zoo to create “a zoo within a park.”

The new site would be seven times the size of the current 30-year-old zoo, which closed abruptly in August 2012.  It is slated to include some 3,000 animals and be constructed at the same site as the existing facility.

‘Biosphere’

Ashghal laid out preliminary plans for the new zoo last November, including announcing themed zones such as “Africa Safari,” and “Asia Woodland.”

Additionally, a controlled biosphere roof system will be installed in part of the zoo, allowing it to “rain” once an hour, Clarkson said, adding that there will also be a dedicated tram route to the zoo.

He also disclosed more details about the three hotels that are expected to be built on the site: a “seven-star” treehouse hotel” with only four suites; a 60-room, five-star “rain forest hotel;” and an 100-room, four-star family resort.

Site plans also feature a “Zoo Village,” which would house themed restaurants and shops, and a large underground parking facility, which Clarkson said could also be used by Villaggio shoppers.

Opening date

Clarkson told the Gulf Times that construction on the site will begin this year, following the awarding of design contracts last November.

The zoo is scheduled to open to visitors in late 2017, although it’s not clear whether this will simply be the first stage of its development.

In November, Ashghal said that hotels “might be included in later phases,” suggesting that planners will open the site in stages.

Meanwhile, zoo animals are still believed to be housed on the old zoo site. Ashghal is currently building a specialist animal containment facility off of Al Shamal Highway, but that development won’t be completed until the end of this year at the earliest.

Ashghal told Doha News last November that, as an interim measure, all animals would be moved to shelters at the Rawdat Al Faras farm when demolition of the old site commenced.

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