Giza Zoo set to go cageless in renovation plan
Old cage facilities at Giza Zoo will be transformed into open-range spaces as part of a major renovation project, Maged El-Serty, the CEO of the National Military Production Company for Projects, Engineering Consultations and General Supplies, announced.
During an appearance on a talk show on Tuesday, El-Serty said his company has been awarded the contract for the work, which is due to begin next month. The project also includes renovations at Orman Garden, a neighboring botanical garden.
“We sought the help of foreign experts to develop the zoo, as we are implementing a project to develop the zoo and Orman park in Giza for the benefit of the Agriculture Ministry,” he said.
The government approved the contract last Thursday but the cost of the projects was not disclosed. Both attractions have been managed by Egypt’s Agriculture Ministry for more than a century but under the new contract, responsibility for them will be transferred to the Ministry of Military Production, under the umbrella of which El-Serty’s company operates.
The Agriculture Ministry will remain involved under the new agreement in a managerial and advisory capacity and will “have a say in all management matters,” according to El-Serty.
He said the renovated zoo will be divided into four sectors — Egyptian, African, Asian and nocturnal — and new animals that it has never hosted before will be introduced. Both the zoo and its animals will be guarded and there will be designated trails for visitors to follow, and the zoo and the botanical garden will be linked by an aerial lift line, El-Serty added.
The zoo will close for a year, beginning in January 2023, so that the renovation work can be carried out across the 32-hectare area.
El-Serty said that the main goal is to “restore the luster and splendor of the Giza Zoo.” He dismissed concerns about the construction project that were raised after military-run development work in another public project was criticized for leveling green spaces and uprooting trees. A foreign consultant has been hired to oversee the zoo project to avoid issues of this kind, he added.
Giza Zoo, which opened in 1891, is the oldest zoo in Africa and the third-oldest in the world. It is one one of the most beloved attractions in the city, popular with locals and international tourists alike.
However, a long period of decline beginning in the middle of the last century resulted in the zoo being stripped of its membership of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.