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OCE records 200 steppe eagles in Dhofar survey

26 Oct 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – The globally endangered steppe eagle have returned to Dhofar in good numbers as compared to 2020, when only 80 were reportedly spotted in the area.

To enhance biodiversity and provide an accurate database on the number of steppe eagles in the Governorate of Dhofar, the Office for Conservation of Environment (OCE) at the Diwan of Royal Court, has started a winter survey which will last until March next year.

“A specialised team from OCE recorded nearly 200 eagles in the first week of the surveys in the northeast of the wilayat of Thumrait,” said an official of OCE.

“In 2019, we recorded 500 steppe eagles in Dhofar but they decreased to 80 in 2020,” the OCE official said, adding that the reason for the decrease in numbers was lack of food, including carrion (decaying flesh of dead animals).

“The ongoing survey is being implemented in cooperation with the Environment Society of Oman, the Omani British Friendship Association and a number of international organisations interested in the study of raptors.”

The survey aims to collect information on the number and movements of steppe eagles visiting the sultanate.

“This information will contribute in taking appropriate environmental measures to protect this endangered bird of prey according to the classification of the International Union for Conservation of Nature,” said the official.

The steppe eagle is considered an endangered bird globally based on IUCN classification. Oman is considered a natural stopover as a large number of these eagles visit various locations in Dhofar which provides adequate food in the winter season.

In an ongoing research, the OCE recently installed satellite tracking devices on 13 steppe eagles to obtain important and accurate data and information.

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