Wednesday, June 19
09:57 PM

Rare discovery: Arabian tahr sighted drinking seawater in Oman

11 Jun 2024 Rare discovery: Arabian tahr sighted drinking seawater

Muscat – A field study carried out by Environment Authority (EA) has unveiled a rare phenomenon of Arabian tahr drinking seawater in Oman.

H H Taimur bin Abdullah al Said, an environmental specialist at EA, noted that terrestrial mammals consuming seawater is an unusual occurrence. “This was evidenced following collection and analysis of camera trap data from a study site at a beach in Ras Abu Dawood in Muscat governorate.”

EA official checking camera traps

The site has limited availability of freshwater, with average annual rainfall of 117.2 mm, primarily during winter. 

H H Said emphasised the significance of the Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari) as a prominent wildlife species of Oman. It is endemic to the Hajar mountain range in the Arabian Peninsula, which holds the status of being the only home of the Arabian tahr in the world.

Highlighting the tahr’s habitat preferences, H H Said referenced prior studies conducted by Office for the Conservation of Environment, indicating its affinity for steep and rugged terrains at elevations ranging from 400m to 1,200m. 

The EA study area is home to other mammals such as the Arabian gazelle, Arabian wolf, lynx, wildcat, red fox and mountain fox, besides the Arabian tahr.

The EA study proved the Arabian tahr’s ability to consume seawater, primarily owing to the scarcity of freshwater in the Ras Abu Dawood area. It also confirmed the hypothesis that certain species of animals utilise seawater as a nutritional supplement for deficiency of sodium and minerals. 

H H Said informed that both male and female tahrs, and young ones, were observed through two cameras drinking from large pools on the rocky shore during low tide, rather than directly from the sea.

© 2021 Apex Press and Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Mesdac