Muscat – A Royal Decree issued on Tuesday to establish the National Natural Park Reserve in Musandam has been hailed by experts and citizens.
Based on a survey conducted by the Environment Authority (EA) in cooperation with the Office of the Governor Musandam, the reserve is spread over an area of 1149.40sqkm.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, environmental specialist Ali Akak said the announcement is significant as it will preserve plant diversity, enrich the environment and wildlife, and encourage the cultivation of local trees. “The reserve will nurture diverse fauna and flora, characterised by distinct nutritional, medicinal and cosmetic properties.”
Nasser al Hosni, an adventure enthusiast, noted that establishment of the reserve will support the local environment. “Besides enriching the wildlife of Oman, it will be a destination for families. The reserve will help preserve our unique ecological diversity and become a safe haven for many wildlife species.”
According to Hosni, the government attaches great significance to preserving the environment in the sultanate in general and Musandam in particular.
Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, a citizen of the governorate, thanked His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik for the decree. “Hopefully, the reserve will attract a lot of tourists and activate domestic tourism.”
Shehhi said that Musandam’s renowned natural features include the creeks Najd, Shamm, Al Hablain and Ghab Ali. “Besides diverse formations of coastal rocks, there are many islands scattered across the governorate, such as A’Tair and the famous Telegraph Island. Among its beaches, Qada, Mokhi, Bassa, Hyout and Hill are big draws for tourists.
“The reserve is likely to receive many nature lovers and local and international photographers who will visit Musandam and promote the sultanate as a tourist destination.”
According to an EA official, surveys have revealed that the waters around the governorate’s islands have various types of coral reefs that attract fish, green turtles and other sea creatures.
EA surveys also confirm the presence of rich wildlife, including wild rabbit, hedgehog, lynx, mountain fox, red fox, wild cat and several species of reptiles, besides over 200 species of plants, some of which are wild, rare or endangered species.
A total of 20,566 nature enthusiasts visited wildlife reserves in Oman in 2020, compared to 359,225 in 2019 and 305,405 in 2018, according to National Centre for Statistics and Information and EA data.