The first of the 10,000 or so animals that will call Dubai Safari home have arrived.

It’s due to open this year, and with the first batch of animals having arrived at the Dhs1 billion Dubai Safari park near Dragon Mart already, it looks like they’re on track to welcome visitors this year.

The first of the animals arrived on March 14 and came from Seoul Grand Park in Korea. Timothy Husband, the technical director of Dubai Safari said they received nine lions, four bears, nine monkeys and 10 bats from the South Korean zoo. The team at Dubai Safari say they have a “sister zoo” relationship with this park and that they will have many interactions with them.

The zoo will host 350 species of animals, some rare and endangered, and will cover over 119 hectares (to put that into perspective, the very famous San Diego Zoo is just 40 hectares).

Here’s video of some of the first residents arriving (click to play):

Dubai Safari, which is being touted as a Dhs1 billion project, will replace the much-derided Jumeirah Zoo, and all 1,000 animals from that zoo will move to the new park.

There will be parking spaces for 3,600 cars, and the park has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible – with solar power running the irrigation network, as well as the electricity-run facilities in the park.

Animal-wise, the park will be split into a safari village, an Arabian village, an Asian village and an African village. There will also be a butterfly park, a botanical garden and educational and veterinary facilities.

Here’s a clip that shows how the animals are transported:

The Arabic village will be divided into three environments – the desert, the mountains and the steppe (which means a large area of land that’s mostly treeless but has plenty of shrubs). This area will also feature Bedouin activities – including falconry and dog hunting.

The African area will feature both a savannah and a rainforest, and there will also be a Safari Area where visitors can ride around in a safari car (that’s air conditioned) in a tour that takes about an hour.

Oh, and there will also be a kids area where little ones can interact with and feed farm animals.

Here’s Mohammed Reza Khan, a specialist in animal management, talking about the different sections:

And here’s how the park will be laid out: dubai safari

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