Live Crocodiles at Dubai mall!
There were mixed reactions from shoppers to The Dubai Mall’s newest resident wild animals – two saltwater crocodiles – flown in from Australia to ‘educate mall-goers on the importance of conserving such species’.
King Croc, a 40-year-old saltwater crocodile and one of the largest reptiles to ever be in captivity, was introduced to the public on Tuesday as the newest addition to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
The 750kg reptile was flown in with his mate of 20 years, 186-kg Queen Croc, from the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Queensland to Dubai earlier in June.
“I think it’s interesting to see. No other mall in the world has a crocodile on exhibit so it’s kinda cool,” Lebanese expatriate Aya Hamam, 23, who hasn’t seen a live crocodile, said.
King Croc and his mate have joined thousands of living animals of 300 different species at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. The zoo will introduce a dedicated educational programme on crocodiles for schools, as approved by the UAE Ministry of Education for school visits as part of the curriculum.
Nervana Hesham, from Egypt, said she’s sure the mall officials had planned everything out. But she sees no reason for bringing more animals into the mall.
“Educating people about animals is good but not this way. I personally think a zoo being in a mall is too much,” Nervana said.
Alyn Baratita, a mother of two, said she’d think twice about going to the mall with her kids. “I don’t think it’s good for the environment. Animals in captivity are for zoos, not for malls.”
“Just the thought of it is very scary, especially since the aquarium had a leak resulting from a crack on the acrylic panel some time back,” Baratita added.
The leak happened in February 2010 from a crack on the 270-degree acrylic walk-through tunnel. The aquarium had to be closed for a day and the leak was sealed quickly.
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo officials allayed fears of some and said the enclosure is 100 per cent safe.
“Safety for him [King Croc] and safety for us was the top priority. A lot of the design elements had to work around the safety elements,” Paul Hamilton, head curator at the facility, told Gulf News.
“The glass is 50mm acrylic. The engineers ran all kinds of tests and they put in place hundreds and hundreds of safety measures. It’s strong enough. Certainly one of the best pieces of acrylic in the world is downstairs at the moment,” he added.
Previously known as Jock the Croc, King Croc is more than five metres long and has the potential to grow even bigger in the next 50 years. Queen Croc is three metres long.
No baby crocodiles are expected from the couple since Queen Croc has already reached the end of her breeding life.