The Office for Conservation of Environment (OCE) in Diwan of Royal Court has revealed the first scientific evidence of the presence of the Arabian leopard in two different locations in the west of the wilayat of Dhalkut, Dhofar governorate.
OCE confirmed the breakthrough study, which indicates the biological diversity of the area, conducted by its specialists this year using a number of modern techniques, including trap cameras.
The study also revealed the presence of seven other species of wild mammals inhabiting the region – Arabian wolf, porcupine, lynx, striped hyena, honey badger, mongoose and rock hyrax. The animals are listed as endangered or vulnerable to extinction according to the classification of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Arabian leopard has been classified by IUCN as critically endangered. There are less than 200 big cats in the wild and according to studies conducted in Oman, there are 44 to 58 of these left in the country.
Field studies carried out by OCE for 23 years have confirmed the presence of the Arabian leopard in the mountains of Dhofar, ranging from Hasik in the east to the wilayat of Dhalkut in the west, in addition to sightings in Najd, north of the Dhofar Mountains.
The big cats are active mostly at night and the pattern of rosettes on the body is unique in each individual. Called ‘qadhr’ locally in the Dhofar mountains, camera-trap studies continue to confirm the presence of leopards also in Jebel Samhan in Dhofar.
‘The sultanate, represented by the Diwan of Royal Court, is continuing efforts to preserve and protect the Arabian leopard from extinction. These relentless efforts have contributed to the stability of its numbers and preservation of its natural habitat in Dhofar,’ stated OCE.