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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Qatar makes headway on Doha Zoo plans with awarding of new contracts

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Doha Zoo rendering
Doha Zoo rendering

In a step forward for the upcoming new Doha Zoo, Qatar’s public works authority has awarded a QR45 million (US $12.3 million) contract to a local company to demolish the buildings and facilities that are currently on site.

Aswan Trading and Contracting Company will spend the next 14 months preparing the site for the main construction, as well as preserving and maintaining the “trees and natural environment” during excavation works, Construction Week Online reports.

The award comes more than a year after Ashghal first floated tenders for the demolition of the existing zoo, which is located opposite Aspire Park and Villaggio Mall and closed in August 2012.

Monkey at old Doha Zoo
Monkey at old Doha Zoo

The first phase of the new zoo development is scheduled to open to visitors in late 2017, and is expected to be more than seven times the size of the previous, 30-year-old facility.

Ashghal has also reportedly finally awarded the tender to design and construct a temporary housing facility for animals in Rawdat Al Faras.

Under that QR73 million ($20 million) contract, Medgulf Construction Company will spend one year building the accomodation, which will include residences for caretakers and a veterinary clinic, Construction Week said.

Previously, the authority said zoo animals were being moved to farms and shelters in the Rawdat Al Faras area as construction on the new Doha Zoo gets underway.

Zoo details

In 2013, Ashghal signed a $63 (QR230) million contract with an architectural and engineering firm to prepare detailed plans for a new zoo.

KEO International Consultants is serving as the project’s design and construction supervision consultant.

Doha Zoo rendering
Doha Zoo rendering

It will work with HHCP+PJA, which was hired in December 2012 to prepare the concept master plan that includes some 3,000 animals in themed zones such as “Africa Safari,” and “Asia Woodland.”

Three hotels are also expected to eventually be built on the new zoo 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.

Thoughts?

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lala khan
lala khan
6 years ago

I heard they will relocate the deportation centre to the zoo too. True?

Abdul
Abdul
6 years ago

Old news? Weren’t these contracts already awarded last year?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

This and the Metro lines are the only projects I am looking forward too. Hopefully they will be finished without much delay.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

And stadium

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

The last thing I care about are stadiums and all the WC2022 projects. I am not a big fan of football anyway so it won’t make a difference for me, whereas the metro will definitely make a difference, and the zoo, if done properly, will be a regular destination for me and my kids.

Expat
Expat
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Hi Yacine! If you are a Qatari citizen I would really like to know the general feedback/position of Qataris (at least in your community) of having a metro. Is the general feel that citizens will use it? Are they looking forward to it?

Thanks! (this is a serious question and no mockery is intended)

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat

No I am not Qatari. Ask @a_qtr:disqus and few others here for the local perception of things 🙂

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Expat

We will not use it… We’re looking forward to having less cars on the road when other people use it.

FalconFlyer
FalconFlyer
6 years ago

Why do we keep getting the same updates which are neither realistic nor feasible. So the site preparatory works contract gets finally awarded now, for a 14 month duration. Including all delays, as is the trend here, these works will be finished by end 2016. Yet they still maintain that the Zoo will be open by end 2017. Guys…give me a break.
My bets on 2019…

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago

Animals belong in forests.

Enceladus
Enceladus
6 years ago
Reply to  Bajn

No wonder how they will treat animals considering the way they treat some people….

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Bajn

Tell that to your country. It is not Qatar that invented zoos. Every single country in the world has zoos, so why is it only a problem here?

KJD
KJD
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Some people are opposed to zoos in general — it has nothing to do with the location of the zoo. I however think that there is a function for zoos if the animals in the zoo are acquired through ethical manners (i.e. born in captivity or injured animals that would not survive in the wild). Zoos can be a great way for people to learn about animals that they would not otherwise encounter, to learn ways to protect the animal’s natural habitat, and to learn about the animal itself.

Zoo debate
Zoo debate
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I take your point but a desert climate is particularly difficult to regulate to the environment each species is used to. We’re probably more acutely aware of this during these dust storm seasons or the very hot summers. I assume smart people have thought about this and devised reasonable solutions but we’ll see. Moreover, zoos are a legacy of a period when people weren’t much concerned with animals having psychological needs. Most scientists are now aware that animals go a little crazy in the artificial zoo environment and public awareness of this has made zoos increasingly controversial. Large zoos in Western countries try to mimic the animals’ natural habitats more to deal with this. As I said, I think such a strategy will be difficult to achieve here where increased exposure to the outdoor weather is not advisable. I’m still on the side that the benefits of having a zoo outweighs the costs if you pursue best practices but the more you learn the closer of a call that seems to be.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Zoo debate

This is understandable, but why are we assuming before even the project starts that Qatar will not take care of these things? Don’t you know that there is already the Wabra wildlife resort and that scientists there (mostly South Africans) are making amazing breakthroughs with animals that are not supposed to be in Qatar, like the Brazilian Spix’s macaw?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

We are not assuming anything. All we have to do is visit Souq Waqif Animal Market. Expect amazing?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

That’s not a government thing. The shop owners are to blame for the animals situation and the government is only to blame for not enforcing some animal welfare rules and laws, if ever they exist.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

As Bajn wrote earlier, “You must be on auto defensive mode all the time”. What makes you think that animal welfare rules will be enforced differently at the Zoo?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

And what makes you think they won’t? You gave the example of Souq Waqif and I gave the example of the Wabra Wildlife Resort, which is brilliantly managed by scientists and has plenty of animals in excellent condition that are not supposed to be in Qatar.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Everyone knows what the situation is at Souq Waqif. The Wabra Wildlife Resort is not open to such public scrutiny and therefore I am not going to take your word that it is managed brilliantly. Moreover, bringing animals from their natural habitat and resettling them into the wildlife of another continent/environment is a highly questionable practice.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

As I said earlier, the idea that a zoo is a questionable thing is up for debate and is not something to blame Qatar for. Every country has its zoo(s) so it is weird ethics come into play only when Qatar wants to have its own. As for accusing them of not enforcing rules or making the zoo up to standards, I think the onus is on you to prove them wrong rather than on them to prove to you they are right. Since the project hasn’t even started I don’t think you will be able to prove anything, apart from the usual baseless bashing.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

To some, dyed bunnies are cute. To others, it is animal abuse. Baseless bashing, anyone?

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

You must be on auto defensive mode all the time. Animals belong in forests and oceans.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Bajn

No. It is just that your point is ridiculous. And no, animals do not belong to forests and oceans. They can also be pets, or in labs for experiments. They can also be hunted/slaughtered and eaten. Wake up to reality and educate yourself.

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That’s like saying because there is so much of evil in the real world, we must contribute to it.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Bajn

Again, do not impose your view on people and wake up to reality. Slaughtering animals for food is evil? Oh thanks I’d rather stay evil. What about using them in lab tests? You said evil? I am sure scientists will be happy to have you volunteer in their tests.

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

It is just my opinion. I am not going to rob anyone of their pleasure of watching animals in cages. Why not add a circus too, no sense feeding those lazy animals for just lying around doing nothing.

stupid logic
stupid logic
6 years ago
Reply to  Bajn

Tell that to the camel and the desert gazelle. They have been living in the desert for quite a long time.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  stupid logic

Also tell this to the penguins, I don’t think they will like your idea 🙂

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. This is not an African Safari or Asian Woodland. I find it highly unlikely that they will build an atmosphere best suited (and safe) for each animal. Especially since they were going to house the existing animals on farms for a few years. How about focusing on an animal shelter for the stray animals first?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Zoos are an important tool for educational, ecological and scientific study, research, conservation, society etc.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

I doubt there would be any research or scientific studies done there. Yes it can be an educational tool if done right and the animals will be well taken care of.

However, I’m not optimistic here. Places here tend to be nice in the beginning and then go downhill with lack of maintenance and training. There are no enforceable animal laws or guidelines for zoos that will ensure that the companies will not cut corners for profits. If an accident happens it will be another incident where some worker will be arrested for the fault of management decisons.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Doubt of something that hasn’t happened is no reason to shame people though. Any issue can be argued ethically good or bad

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Im not shaming based on the doubt of the research. I’m shaming based on the strong likelihood that the animals will not be in a healthy environment.

Do you really think that money will be spent to make sure that animals will be in a similar environment as their natural habitats. Qatar is such a harsh desert environment it will expensive to mimic the diverse environments they live in. Climate, vegetation, space, etc.

Do you really think the well being of the animals will be taken into consideration when nothing is done to people who illegally parade around with exotic animals?

If one can argue every issue as ethically good or bad (as you think) then really no issue is good or bad…then why have any ethics at all? I disagree with this.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

What I think is a zoo will be built under an increased spotlight brought on Qatar due to its presence on the international stage, and they will / are having to consider a broader stakeholder base (including advocates for the animals and the animals themselves and those providing the animals) than other countries and that they do have the money to build a world class zoo. I’m not sure of the correlation with people owning exotic animals illegally or otherwise and the zoo. For what is right and wrong, the concept is not universal, nor is it comparable to natural science, so what is right for one person or society can be wrong for another, with ethics, five major theories present, Utilitarianism, Kantian based views, relativism (arguably mythical), Rights and justive approaches and virtue ethics, and each provide a debate. A utilitarian example would be to look at the amount of goodness that can be measured. Thousands of happy school children visting a zoo in Qatar that have never seen some of these animals before, learning to appreciate nature, respect animals and learn to protect not only their own environments, but the ecological sustainability of an animals natural habitat, something they perhaps carry throughout their lives. Contrast this to the idea of “Goodness” and you don’t open a zoo at all because it harms animals by removing them from their natural habitat and you deal with the school children understanding and respecting animals through different means.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

What I think is animal welfare will not be in the spotlight until domestic workers and laborer issues are resolved (if ever).

We sure do have the money to build a world class zoo, but money spent does not necessarily mean it will be spent to benefit animals or safety.

The correlation I was trying to make is that there is already little done when individuals break existing laws regarding the welfare of exotic animals, what makes you think that anyone will ensure exotic animals will be treated well in zoos?

Almost all of the Africa and Asia areas are outside (an older Doha news article shows this on the drawing). How do they plan to take care of the animals during harsh Doha climate? If there is a sandstorm, are there enough spaces inside to house all the animals?

Children will learn to appreciate nature and respect animals if animals are treated well and they are taught to treat them well (from parents or educational programs). This could happen in a zoo but it doesn’t have to. I don’t see how it teaches them ecological sustainability of animals in their natural habitats when they aren’t in their natural habitats. If animals are in cages or in confined spaces, I believe it may also teach them that it is okay for wild animals to be in cages.

As for your philosophical debate (a complex subject but I will try to be short). In the absence of animals being able to voice their own opinion, I believe they should be kept where nature intended them to be. Aside from behaviors such as migration patterns or herd interactions that they are being removed from there can be complex symbiotic relationships that we disturb when isolating wild animals.

Children going to a zoo may be provided with a temporary moment of joy or a fond memory but that does not significantly contribute to the happiness of a person. A zoo is fun and educational but moving 3,000 animals for entertainment is selfish of us humans in my opinion.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

And your points are valid and as animals are represented by advocates, those concerns can be represented by media, apparently they’re waiting for the time to do that.

The correlation seems unbalanced, as isolated incidents are being cherry picked to represent the uncertain future actions of a government.

The children of this upcoming generation who will be enjoying the zoo, their parents, teachers, community members, tourists, students, universities, private entities, public entities, doctors, vets and whoever else, can benefit from programming and exhibits in the same way as they could at museums, forums, universities, training courses, events, and other creative ways to stimulate discussion, debate, engagement, action, charity, curiosity, artistic endeavours, etc. Will that happen at this zoo? Who knows, but will animals be abused, mistreated, starved, depressed etc? That’s also not known, and I haven’t seen anything about the intention to adopt an attitude towards that in this new endeavor, certainly a great question for the media to ask, or for the management to adopt the demonstration of in a sustainability strategy.

Unfortunately, those symbiotic relationships changed when we went from hunter gatherers to expoiters of natural capital. Dams, agriculture, energy generation, water, are all fighting for the land where animals and humans used to live. A great place to raise these issues and connect to the animals and their habitats is a zoo, and that would be great to see here, perhaps it would be a great boost to the QNHG and their activites and efforts as well.

Maybe the joy of going to a zoo is temporary, but it’s also fairly pessimistic! Kids love zoos! And we humans are selfish, it’s a terrible trait and it needs to stop, and probably fairly soon it will have to stop, but beyond that, loads of people will earn a living building and running this zoo, support families back home and with the right leadership be part of a project that adopts fair standards for employee welfare. It may not be likely that this project and zoo will be 100% controversy free and on fleek, but also probably not going to be Plaza de toros

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

I hope you are right with your predictions (or hopes) and time will tell how the zoo will turn out. It will happen regardless so I do hope it turns out as positive as possible.

Thank you for the intellectual discussion.

Seymour
Seymour
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

animal welfare will not be in the spotlight until domestic workers and laborer issues are resolved

I think you’ll be surprised at how many people care for animals rather than other humans.
Animal welfare is a big issue all around the world, poor peoples welfare not so much.

Given that people are very common, found all over the place and not in imminent peril of extinction, many people just don’t prioritise them.

KJD
KJD
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Obviously they will need to increase the ticket price for people to visit the zoo in order to provide the animals with what they require. The last time I was at the zoo in Doha I believe the entrance fee was a mere 5-10 QAR. Admission prices at other zoos around the world tend to be much higher. For example: San Deigo Zoo (175 QAR/adult); Toronto Zoo (85 QAR), Australian Zoo (180 QAR); Chester Zoo (91 QAR).

How on earth did people expect them to provide proper care for the animals when it cost them so little to get into the zoo?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  KJD

Corporate sponsorship. For example, a Doha-based company whose logo features an oryx (Mr. Akbar, have I got a proposal for you) could sponsor the oryxes. 🙂

KJD
KJD
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

If people would stop abandoning animals there would be no need for the shelters. That is the real problem, not the lack of space at animal shelters.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  KJD

Yes that’s true but let’s be realistic every country has animal shelters. It’s like saying if people would stop murdering others there would be no need for prisons. A true statement but not realistic in this world.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

well said !

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

This is a good initiative. Qatar needs a zoo for lack of many leisure options.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago

Three hotels on the zoo site, but no shopping mall? That doesn’t sound right.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

There’s supposed to be a walkway to Villaggio 🙂

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

Thank you, thank you, Shabina! What a relief. BTW, the Angry Birds Theme Park would have fit nicely between the Zoo and Villaggio, but hey, not to be outdone, Villaggio might build an Angry Camels Theme Park 🙂

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  al-Lalal

The hotels seem so…. cheap! … Only 7 stars, I prefer to stay in at least 11-star hotels…

DesertLily2015
DesertLily2015
6 years ago

Only in Doha would there be a “7 star” hotel!!
What about the elephant walkway over al Waab proposed last year…as if there aren’t already enough distracted drivers…

Joe
Joe
6 years ago

How much this thing is going to cost in total?

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