Although the Sultanate always seeks to balance between development requirements and environment, population density and fast growth of life aspects constitute a challenge to biological diversity and wildlife.
“Despite all deterrent rules that prohibit hunting of wild animals, and with establishing of many natural reservations to protect wildlife, there is still a need to find solutions to conserve biological diversity in the Sultanate especially those species exposed to extinction such as Arabian Leopard,” Saif al Shaqsi, acting CEO of the National Field Research Centre for Environmental Conservation, said.
In this regard, Al Shaqsi said the international conference on Arabian Leopard on December, 2 to 4th in Salalah will evaluate the current situation of the leopards in the Sultanate, especially in Dhofar, and set up scientific and strategic frameworks to protect them.
Besides, many scientific papers will be delivered during the conference, they will be mostly about national rules regulating leopards’ life in the Sultanate, challenges and obstacles leopards face, and discussing the plan of operating Jabal Samhan Conservation. A number of international experiences will be weighed to view challenges and solutions besides discussion sessions to extract recommendations.
Al Shaqsi clarified that Arabian Leopard is exposed to extinction according to IUCN Red List of threatened species and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In the past, Arabian leopards were widely existed in the mountains of Dhofar and Musandam. However, over-hunting and destroying the leopard’s natural environment caused him to extinct. Now, a few of them still live in Dhofar.
The Arabian leopard is the kind of animal that is threatened with extinction which is smaller than 15 well-known types of leopards in the world. The many dangers facing the Arabian leopard include the significant increase in the urban sprawl towards the remote areas to the shrinking land area and limited ability of wild animals to secure food for survival and in some cases they are forced to prey on livestock. The authorities in the Sultanate are making all efforts to keep the animal from extinction through the issuance of laws and regulations that ensure the preservation of the Arabian leopard, and the establishment of protected Jabal Samhan for the wildcat, conducting many projects and Survey Research to get to know its life and develop solutions to prevent its extinction. In 1977 the Office of Environmental Conservation carried out the Arabian leopard survey to assess the situation.