Arabian Oryx Reserve in Haima supports ecotourism

The Arabian Oryx Reserve in Haima supports eco-tourism

Haima: The Sultanate of Oman has taken steps to preserve environmental diversity, represented by several projects, including the Arabian Oryx reintroduction project in the Governorate of Al Wusta, which is a living symbol of its unique natural history. These steps began in the seventies and included multiple stages of reproduction and health care until the Arabian Oryx was re-released into its wild environment.

Sultan Mohammed Al Balushi, Director of the Arabian Oryx Department, said: “The Arabian Oryx Reserve is the first natural reserve in the Sultanate of Oman, surrounded by diverse wildlife. The reserve’s area is about 2,824 square kilometers, making it one of the largest natural reserves in terms of area in the Sultanate of Oman”.

He added that the number of Arabian oryx in the reserve is approximately 900 heads. The reserve also includes 1,140 heads of sand gazelle and 140 heads of Arabian gazelle, as well as heads of Nubian ibex, sand fox, striped hyena, wild rabbit, and honey badger, in addition to heads of ostriches and Llama.

Said Ali Habis, an ecosystem specialist at the Arabian Oryx Reserve, said: “The Arabian Oryx Reserve is a driver for economic development by supporting ecotourism, promoting the culture of conservation and preservation of natural habitats, education and field research to enrich knowledge”.

He added that the implementation of a project to plant 80,000 wild trees such as Samar “acacia”, Sidr and Ghaf began two months ago. The reserve’s gate will be developed and illuminated, and the construction of facilities for the reserve’s employees will be completed. He pointed out that the reserve worked to document the steps of the natural migration of the oryx by installing a tracking collar on the oryx to know the coordinates of its presence and the extent of its historical distribution, as well as monitoring its natural habitats throughout the region.

He also explained that the months of (January and February of each year) represent the breeding season for the Arabian oryx in the reserve, and 53 heads of Arabian sand gazelle were released last November in the reserve with the aim of enriching natural components with their Omani wildlife and improving the surrounding ecosystem. He added that there is a mini exhibition in the reserve that contains some pictures and brochures explaining the story of the establishment of the reserve and the development that has taken place so far.

There is also a work team consisting of environmental system specialists, veterinarians and workers in the reserve with the aim of supervising the nutrition, health conditions and therapeutic interventions necessary for the herds of different animals present in the breeding center in the reserve, in addition to an environmental monitoring team specialized in observing and protecting herds of the Arabian oryx, Arabian gazelle, sand gazelle, and other species, and tracking their whereabouts in order to preserve biodiversity in the region.

He added that in 2023, the reserve received about 1,200 visitors from inside and outside the Sultanate of Oman.  -ONA

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