Concern over what looked like plans to introduce killer whales, or orcas, to Dubai’s new US$1.7 billion Marsa Al Arab development has been temporarily quelled after Dubai Holding stated the imagery had been used for “illustration purposes only”.
On Sunday May 14, the company announced huge plans for a four million square feet mega project off the coast of Umm Suqeim, with two islands to be constructed either side of the Burj Al Arab. Among the attractions planned for the project is a Marine Park – the first edutainment centre of its kind in the region, with a 1,000-capacity live theatre to showcase various elements of marine life.
In a statement to Time Out Dubai’s sister title, Arabian Business, Dubai Holding said: “The visuals are conceptual and are for representational purposes only.” It did not share any further details.
In an emailed statement to the title, Jason Baker, vice present of international campaigns for animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Asia, suggested the focus should be to build “an amazing water park, without having animals suffering as part of it”.
“PETA would be there to support the project. They can earn seven stars of compassion by keeping the animal attractions out of their plans.”
In an interview with Arabian Business earlier this month, Mohammed Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral Asset Management, said SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will not have orcas, with the park being a next-generation SeaWorld.