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Shell Oman supports the Biosphere Expeditions
Shell Oman Marketing Company SAOG announced its support to the Biosphere Expeditions for their ongoing Arabian Leopard Research Project in Oman, which is in collaboration with the Office of the Advisor for Conservation of Environment (OACE) in the Diwan of Royal Court. Once again Shell Oman will be supporting the expedition fuel supply and providing camera traps, in addition to sending senior staff members to assist with liaising with local people.
"This year Biosphere Expeditions will work in Dhofar in the vicinity of Wadi Uyun and Wadi Mudday. The focus this year will be two-fold: to look for signs of Arabian leopard and set up a camera-trapping programme and to estimate the abundance of the important leopard prey species in the area: namely Ibex, Arabian Gazelle and Hyrax." Said Dr. Tessa McGregor, a Wildlife Biologist participating in the expedition.
Oman holds the largest and most important remaining population of Arabian leopard. The Biosphere Expeditions of 2006 and 2007 in Musandam confirmed the presence of leopard in that region; but the numbers were so low that the population is probably not viable. The situation in Dhofar is very different with an estimated population of over 200 animals. Their stronghold is the Jabal Samhan Nature reserve. Arabian leopards are also present in Yemen and although less is known about this population, its numbers and distribution, it is very important for the long-term survival prospects of this most beautiful ‘big cat'.
The area Biosphere Expeditions is surveying this year may well be an important dispersal corridor between leopard populations. Ministry Rangers will also be participating in the projects for education and capacity building.
“For us the true value of Biosphere Expedition is the benefit that they bring to local communities. And it helps local communities to see the real benefits in conserving rather than killing the leopard" said Mr. Khalifa al Jahwari from the OACE in the Diwan of Royal Court.
“We are thrilled with the prospect of contributing to the conservation of this magnificent and elusive big cat in our beautiful country” said Mr Mohammed Al Farsi, External Affairs & Business Development General Manager of Shell Oman and added, “We consider it a real privilege to be involved in this expedition, and we are proud of our strong partnership with the OACE and Biosphere Expeditions and it is a part of our Sustainable Development Agenda themes".