Emaar Retail has announced the addition of a massive 750kg crocodile to its offering at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in Dubai Mall, as it aims to increase visitor numbers to its flagship destination.
Named King Croc, the 40-year-old reptile, measuring over five metres long, was brought in from Australia. He and his female companion of 20 years are now kept for display in a special enclosure at the underwater zoo that replicates their natural habitat, Emaar said in a statement.
The enclosure is three times the size specified for such species by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and will include a 150sqm central pool and land area with heated tiles. The environment will replicate that of Queensland through controlled humidity and monitoring of air quality and water temperature.
The crocodiles’ transfer was facilitated in partnership with the Australian government authorities, after a review on the quality of the display, qualifications of staff caring for the animals, the educational purpose of the exhibit and the integrity of the business, the statement said.
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo will now introduce an educational programme on crocodiles for schools, approved by the UAE Ministry of Education.
The two crocodiles will also be part of conservation campaigns undertaken by the aquarium, which currently features humboldt penguins, caiman crocodiles, piranhas, giant spider crabs, small claw otters, sea jellies and clown fish.
Maitha Al Dossari, CEO of Emaar Retail said: “These large aquatic reptiles have a history of over 60 million years surviving through different environments and terrains. Through our exhibit, we are offering the exciting opportunity for our visitors to learn more about crocodiles and their role in the ecosystem. This marks the first time a crocodile of this size finds his home with in a mall in a major city.
“It underlines our commitment to enhance our offering on a regular basis and captivate our audiences with exceptional attractions that can seldom be discovered in a mall environment.”
With retail booming in Dubai, all mall developers are seeking to boost visitor numbers through enhanced and innovative entertainment offerings. Earlier this year, Emaar unveiled an exhibit featuring a 155 million year-old dinosaur, named Dubai Dino, in Dubai Mall.
The exhibit, 24.4 metres long and 7.6 metres high, is open for free viewing and is expected to “significantly scale up the mall’s footfall,” officials said.
Dubai Mall welcomed over 75 million visitors in 2013, up 15 per cent compared to 65 million in 2012 and 39 per cent from 54 million visitors in 2011. The mall, which had an average monthly footfall of 6.25 million last year, claims that it is the world’s most-visited destination.