Al Areen park draws record visitors
Manama, May 4, 2013
More than 78,000 people have visited Bahrain's biggest wildlife sanctuary in four months, almost double the numbers that flocked to the venue last year, our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News reported.
Expansion plans and new attractions, including two Asian cheetahs, an Arabian leopard and a Malayan sun bear, at Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve have proven a great success as figures show a spike in Bahrainis and residents touring the Sakhir facility.
Park tour guide head Saqer Khamis said the turnout was "major" compared to last year, where around 135,000 people visited throughout the 12 months.
"We had 78,528 visitors, including 66,827 from January until March and 11,701 in April until date - compared to the 135,015 during the whole of last year," he said.
"The number of people who visited the park in March this year was 21,485 as compared to 12,055 during the same period last year.”
"While 22,839 visited in February as compared to 10,901 during the same period last year, and 22,505 in January compared to 13,241 in the same month last year.”
"Many of the families visited to see new attractions we have for children as well as adults. And many came to enjoy picnics because of the pleasant weather."
Meanwhile, Khamis revealed the sanctuary has added two new residents - African wildebeests.
"We brought two wildebeests, who are native of Africa," he said.
"We are also planning to bring some more animals but it is still in the pipeline."
The cheetahs and bear, named Honey, have been settled into the Wild Animals Complex in the park, where visitors can view the animals through glass enclosures.
The wildlife park also boasts a collection of around 100,000 plants and trees alongside more than 500 animals including hyenas, Persian gazelles, springbok, impala, fallow deer and ostriches.
It has also invested in the animal kingdom by introducing a six-year-old Arabian leopard from Egypt, named Houdini, valued at BD20,000 ($52,751) last year, in addition to three giraffes costing BD17,000 each.
The park was established in 1975 and is divided into two sections. The first is open to the public to walk through with donkeys, camels, tortoises, saluki dogs, gazelles and flamingos on display. Other animals include scimitar-horned oryx, addax, Arabian oryx, dama gazelle, Nubian ibex, wild goats, barbary sheep and Asiatic onager.
Other section has a bird aviary housing wild birds. In addition, a new fruit garden is under construction on the site and scheduled to open next year. It also features a popular cafe.
The park is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, and on Friday from 2pm to 5pm. – TradeArabia News Service