We were a little unsure about visiting the local Doha zoo, I had read a few negative reviews that claimed very poor conditions and animals mistreated, but it was new years eve, a three-day long weekend and we didn’t have too much else to do.
Entry price was five Qatari Riyal and as usual for Qatar, it was family-day, where single males were unwelcome (unless you were Caucasian of course).
First up was the a single white-tiger, which didn’t help with the zoo’s negative image, a tiny domed cage with the tiger strutting back-and-forth along the edge. You couldn’t help feel sorry for it.
Onto the birds, a much more pleasant encounter, many varieties including Grey Crowned Cranes, ducks, geese and flamingos, which we had never seen before.
Next was a lonesome elephant, the small enclosure brought the elephant only a few metres away, so close that a man was able to extend his arm with popcorn and the elephant was able to extend its trunk to grab it, and would have, if the man hadn’t been stopped by the zoo keeper. Feeding the animals was a common occurrence in this zoo.
Similarly to the elephants, the monkeys were in arms reach, however nobody seemed to mind that they were being fed, and young Qatari boys and girls were happily feeding them popcorn and biscuits, even though there was a “Don’t feed the animals” sign right above them.
The open savannah enclosures housed zebras, giraffes, deer, antelopes, and of course Oryx, one of the main reasons for the zoo visit. Surprisingly, Oryx weren’t very lively animals, preferring to laze around on the ground.
Finally, we visited the nocturnal and small animal enclosures, similarly to the other animals the animals were easily visible and accessible, however there was minimum security, and many children were banging on the glass trying to get the animals attention.
Overall the zoo was enjoyable, animals were visible and accessible, maybe too accessible in some cases, the small enclosures and children feeding them being a result of this. Unfortunately, like the rest of Qatar, Qataris are ‘above the law’, and this isn’t a good thing for the animals.