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Over 20,000 people visited nature reserves in 2020

24 May 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

As many as 20,566 people visited nature reserves in Oman in 2020, compared to 359,225 in 2019 and 305,405 at the end of 2018, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) and the Environment Authority.

Nature reserves in Oman are a major tourist attraction, offering scenic nature, camping and diving facilities to enjoy coral reefs and other underwater treasures.

The Environment Authority “seeks to conduct scientific studies and provide tourism and entertainment facilities for guests inside nature reserves”, it said. 

“We have more than 20 nature reserves through which we aim to preserve biological diversity and promote the sultanate in the world of ecotourism.”

Speaking to Muscat Daily an official at the Environment Authority said it issued 68 special permits to allow visitors to enter natural reserves in 2020 and also issued 134 diving licences outside the nature reserves.

Talking about the endangered animals, he said, “The authority is making great efforts to take care of endangered animals. There are 607 wild animals and birds in the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Reproduction Centre and 445 green turtles in the Turtle Reserve in Ras al Jinz. The authority also issued 172 import-export permits for endangered animals.”

The sultanate has a number of natural reserves that support domestic tourism, like Rustaq Wildlife Nature Reserve in the Governorate of South Batinah. The reserve has more than 110 species of plants and trees, six different types of mammals and over a dozen species of birds. 

The Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve is home to more than 11 species of wild animals, including Arabian oryx, Arabian gazelle, Rhim gazelle, Nubian ibex, red fox, ostrich, brown eagle and wild rabbit. 

The Office for Conservation of the Environment recently launched a programme to release wild animals (Arabian antelopes) into the wild, setting them free in the Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve.

The Environment Authority recently installed rings on a number of endangered vultures in two different locations in Dhofar in cooperation with the Environment Society of Oman and the Office for Conservation of the Environment with an aim “to protect them in the sultanate”.

 

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