DUBAI, 16 August (BelTA - Emirates News Agensy). - In a miniature bio-biological dome inside an origami-style glass building, the gigantic kapok tree stands four stories high, forming a closed ecosystem that evokes the world of tropical rainforests sustaining over 3,000 species of plants and animals living under the largest artificial tree in the world.
On a tour of the Emirates News Agency (WAM) in The Green Planet project located in City Walk Dubai, the experiment began from the fourth floor down through the vital area on a winding path that provides a unique opportunity to see many exotic and tropical animals.
During the tour, WAM delegates viewed the bio-dome, which is made up of four levels, the Canopy, the Midstory, the Forest Floor and the Flooded Rainforest. Each level discusses the role and the importance every part of a rainforest plays.
The Canopy forms the roof of the tropical forest, absorbs the majority of sunlight, and spreads rain. It has many types of rain birds and the famous bat cave that houses "Seba" bats in their relaxing natural habitat.
The Midstory, where trees usually have large leaves to absorb any sunlight, is filtered through the Canopy to give the forest floor moisture, calm and shade as sunlight hardly reaches the land where many monkeys and reptiles inhabit.
The rainforest floor on the second floor is damp, quiet, and dark, and hardly any sunlight reaches the ground, unlike the other brighter and more vibrant layers where the red-footed tortoise lives.
There is plenty of ecological life on the first floor, where the submerged rainforest is complete with a giant aquarium full of fish such as arapaima and Arowana and about 1,000 piranhas and stingrays.
On the ground floor, the "Creatures of the Night" offers its guests the chance to experience how tropical creatures go about their day-to-day activities, in the dark. The walkthrough is carried underground, where The Green Planet operators have full control over the day and night cycles. Meanwhile, the main 7-story tropical biodome that accounts for the majority of The Green Planet allows in natural sunlight from outside.
The Slow Loris is just one amongst the many nocturnal species, guests will be able to admire others such as the Lace Monitor, Burmese Pythons pair, the Tokay gecko, Marine toads, Parma Wallabies, The Laughing Kookaburra, and Carpet pythons who have had over 72 babies! This one-of-a-kind facility aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of nature, and inspire guests to take an interest in the value of the world's oldest living ecosystem.
"There are more than 3,000 species of animals and plants, including hundreds of birds, reptiles, fish, mammals and invertebrates," said Sarah Stevens, Head of Operations/Curator at The Green Planet.
Regarding their original habitat, Sarah Stevens indicated that all the animals came from responsible sources and reputable animal care facilities around the world, and all official approvals and required permits were obtained through the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment before arriving at their new home in The Green Planet, based on its carefully studied practices for planning and attracting the animals.
Stevens emphasised that the facility provides a suitable environment that mimics the animals' original habitat, as it is located in a unique building specially designed to house rainforest plants and animals in an environment similar to their original environment.
She stated that the bio-dome implements many sustainability initiatives, including recycling water from tropical rainstorms to be used in irrigation lines, not using single-use plastics in The Green Planet Café, gifting seeds, raising awareness and educating guests and others.
Regarding the plans for future development of the project, she explained that interaction between animals, the interaction of animals with guests, and the experiences of guests continue to grow and change every year, adding that there are many future plans in addition to new animals that will arrive before the end of 2022.
Stevens explained that the memorandum of understanding recently signed with Dubai Safari Park paves the way for further cooperation in developing animal breeding, improving their conditions, facilitating their movement between the two places, and ensuring the opening of communication channels between two of the most leading animal facilities in the Emirates.
She noted that The Green Planet is working to strengthen its international relations and continue close cooperation with other institutions concerned with animal care in the UAE, including Dubai Municipality and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
This indoor Amazonian rainforest is a spacious reserve offering fun activities and a chance to explore the rainforest top to bottom, making for an exploratory and green leisure pursuit.