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Arabian Leopard Survey Continues in Oman
Biosphere Expeditions is a non-profit-making organization offering hands-on wildlife conservation expeditions for everyone. The expeditions bring together people from different walks of life to support wildlife research and conservation in various parts of the world.
The organisation’s Arabian Leopard search project began in January 2006 in the Musandam area - working alongside scientists from the Diwan of Royal Court with the aim to see whether the endangered Arabian leopard, the last surviving species of the big cats, was still present in that area of Arabia.
Last year, after exhaustive research in remote and difficult terrain, Biosphere Expeditions was able to report that the Arabian leopard indeed still clings on in the Musandam area, albeit with only a handful of individuals. Delighted with Biosphere Expeditions’ important work, the Oman government have now asked the organization to help them out in Dhofar, where a sizeable population of Arabian leopard still exists, but needs further study and conservation action in order to protect this most graceful of cats.
Commenting on the expedition Dr. Matthias Hammer, Biosphere Expeditions’ Founder and Managing Director said, “Following our findings from the last expedition, we are excited to return to the region and continue our survey in a different area of Oman. We hope our expedition is as successful and we are able to help the Arabian Leopard survive in the Sultanate of Oman.
The expedition will continue this year from 13th January in the Waid Uyun area of Dhofar and will last for one month. Volunteers from England, Germany, Austria, United States, Oman and the UAE have signed up to be part of this year’s expedition and will be supported by Shell Oman staff in the field too. Participants will undergo rigorous field and animal identification training, before venturing out to track and record signs of the Arabian leopards presence and its prey animals such as mountain gazelle, hyrax and feral goats.
“We are grateful for Shell’s support so that we can take the expedition team to some of the most remote and harshest terrains in the Dhofar area. The partnership with Shell Oman helps us reduce our running and expedition costs so that we can divert our funds into the projects and people, and take our conservation expedition to some inaccessible places,” added Dr Hammer.
Speaking on Shell’s involvement, Abdulwahid Al Farsi, External Affairs Manager, said, “At Shell Oman, sustainable development is one of our top priorities”. “The Biosphere Expeditions project offers the perfect opportunity to support environment conservation and eco-tourism, as well as promote awareness on the Sultanate’s unique natural wealth,” he added.