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Arabian Oryx Reserve: A sanctuary for nature and serenity

31 Jan 2024 Arabian Oryx Reserve By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Haima – In a commitment to preserving its rich environmental diversity, Oman has been steadfast in its efforts, highlighted by the Arabian oryx reintroduction project in Al Wusta governorate.

The Arabian Oryx Reserve, started in the 1970s, has meticulously advanced through various stages, including breeding, culminating in the successful reintegration of Arabian oryx into the wild.

Sultan Mohammed al Balushi, Director of the Arabian Oryx Department, elaborated on the significance of the Arabian Oryx Reserve, saying, “It’s the first nature reserve in Oman – spread over an impressive 2,824sq km – and has a diverse array of wildlife.”

According to Balushi, the reserve is home to approximately 900 Arabian oryx, alongside notable populations of sand and Arabian gazelles, Nubian ibex, sand foxes, striped hyenas, wild rabbits, honey badgers, ostriches and llamas.

Said Ali Habis, an ecosystem specialist at the reserve, emphasised its role in fostering economic growth through ecotourism and environmental education. “Our focus is not only on conservation but also on enriching knowledge through field research,” he said.

Habis informed about the recent commencement of a project to plant 80,000 wild trees, including acacia, sidr and ghaf in the reserve. Plans are underway to enhance the reserve’s infrastructure, including development of its entrance and facilities for staff.

Habis also highlighted the technological advancements in wildlife management in the reserve, such as the use of tracking collars on oryx to monitor their natural migration patterns and habitat utilisation. He further noted that January and February mark the breeding season of the Arabian oryx.

A total of 53 Arabian sand gazelles were released into the reserve in November 2023 to enrich its biodiversity.

“The reserve also features a mini-exhibition showcasing its history and developmental stages. Our dedicated team of environmentalists, veterinarians and staff meticulously oversee the well-being and conservation of various species,” Habis added.

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