Muscat: The Office for Conservation of Environment (OCE) at the Diwan of Royal Court conducted field surveys that documented the presence of Arabian leopard in Dhofar Governorate.
A statement issued online by Oman News Agency, (ONA), said: "Field surveys carried out by the Office for Conservation of Environment (OCE) at the Diwan of Royal Court, represented by the Department of Environmental Affairs in Salalah, reveal that during the current year a new record entry of the presence of the Arabian leopard in the Najd areas, north of Salalah, was documented."
Arabian leopards are repopulating areas where they were absent for many years, proving that efforts to conserve them are indeed bearing fruit.
Field surveys recently carried out by the Office for the Conservation of the Environment (OCE) under the Diwan of Royal Court showed an increased presence of the big cat in a Najd region north of Salalah, the capital of the southern Dhofar Governorate.
The Najd region, which spans between Wadi Jazlut and Wadi Ashok, is considered to be the home of the Arabian leopard, which has been able to expand its territory owing to ongoing conservation efforts. Listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, the Arabian leopard holds immense ecological and cultural value for Oman and the rest of the Arab region.
Another area where the leopard is often found is Al Mughsayl. These locations are close to their habitats in the mountains of Jabal Al Qara and Jabal Al Qamar.
The leopards seen in the Najd came just a few days after teams from the OCE spotted footage of another of the rare animals on a camera trap in the Harweb area, north of Jabal Qamar. This is the first time it was seen there in more than 50 years.
“This very important recording represents an increase in the geographical spread of the Arabian leopard in the mountains of the Sultanate,” said the OCE in a statement. “We celebrate the results achieved by the team of the Arabian Leopard Conservation Project alongside the Office for the Conservation of the Environment.”
The results of these studies, which were carried out in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs in Salalah, will help conservation teams to enhance methods to protect the areas inhabited by the Arabian leopard.
A number of other exotic species of wildlife are found in the mountains north of Salalah, such as the Nubian ibex, the Arabian gazelle, the striped hyena, the desert lynx and the Arabian wolf. A number of wild plants that are important to Oman’s economy and culture are also found there. The most important and well-known among them are the frankincense trees.