Tuesday, September 28
08:12 PM

Call of the wild

14 Jun 2020

Ahmed al Busaidi, an adventurer who has mastered the art of hunting down and capturing different snakes found in different parts of Oman, wasn’t quite affected by the recent lockdown of Muscat Governorate because he resides in Nizwa, in Dakhliyah region which has, so far, seen just around 700 coronavirus cases.

During the time when people in the capital were under a lockdown Ahmed had been exploring the great outdoors in Dhofar region to track and find snakes and lizards of varied species. Sadly for him, his passion has now come to a grinding halt as Dhofar Governorate is currently under a lockdown.

“There is no lockdown for snakes. You cannot manipulate their movements. They are always in the wild, away from human civilisation and like to be left undisturbed,” says Ahmed who works as a technician in the Biomedical Sciences Unit of the University of Nizwa. Over the years, he has played a vital role in the department’s research on venom as he has not only helped the department by procuring various venomous snakes from Dhofar region but also assisted in venom extraction procedures.

He further disclosed that he had been lucky to have visited various locations in Dhofar, in the weeks preceding the lockdown of Dhofar (which began on Saturday) to capture snakes and lizards of different species for research purposes at the university. In fact, on Saturday itself, he had visited Salalah but was back before the lockdown began that afternoon.

Ahmed is not just an adventurer who likes to spend all his leisure hours amid nature, he also is a rock climber and certified diver who has been to great depths at all popular diving sites in Oman. At dive sites, he often fishes out articles abandoned or accidently dropped into the ocean by other divers – like sunglasses, mobile phones, cameras, and many other articles – and attempts to return these to their owners by tracking them down.

“This is the best time in Dhofar after the recent rains. There is much greenery, waterfalls and all creatures in the region, including snakes and lizards, have a great habitat to live in. However, this is not an ideal time for me to visit to collect sampes as the visibility in the mountains will not be good while the approaches to every area would be muddy. So, after a few weeks, I guess, I will head back once the lockdown is lifted,” he said.

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