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Wild Animals

Sub Section: Birds Oryx Wild Animals Turtles Nature Reserves

For the Omanis, protecting wildlife and maintaining their natural habitat is nothing new, for wildlife reserves were once to be found in some areas of Oman. Reserves allowed wild species to find grazing even in the most severe drought conditions and, at the same time provided a sanctuary from hunters. Today Oman has seven formally designated protected areas for conservation of wild fauna and flora.

The Arabian oryx is perhaps the best known of Oman's wild animals. Other important species include:

Arabian leopard. Gone from most of the region the Arabian leopard still survives in the remote mountains of southern Oman. Modern techniques of camera-trapping and satellite collars have meant that the ecology of this shy and very secretive animal has been studied for the first time. The leopard is usually solitary only coming together with another animals for breeding. It is catholic in its diet but studies have shown that the Nubian ibex and rock hyrax form the bulk of its diet. Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve provides important sanctuary for the leopard, Arabia's largest of cats.

Arabian gazelle. The mature female gazelle weighs between 10 and 15 kgs. The male has thick horns while the female's horns are finer and straighter. Gazelles browse on shrubs and graze grasses.
The largest population is in the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary and numbers over 10,000 and is the largest single population in the region.

Reem gazelle (sand gazelle). This is a less common species and prefers the sandy terrain at the edges of the Empty Quarter. In contrast to the Arabian gazelle, the reem gazelle gives birth to twins. Like the oryx, the reem gazelle can cover long distances searching for new pastures.

Arabian tahr. This goat-like creature occurs primarily in Oman with just a few animals in the area of the Oman-United Arab Emirates border. It lives at altitudes of above 1000 metres where, unlike the drought tolerant oryx, it is dependent on small freshwater seepages.
The tahr live in small groups but at least once a year the males come together in a 'rut' to fight and compete for females. In the Wadi A' Serin Reserve the tahr are protected and monitored by a ranger force recruited from the local people.

Nubian ibex. Also a member of the goatlike family of animals the Nubian ibex is found in the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary and in the Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve. It does not occur in northern Oman where the Arabian tahr is found.
The ibex is a mountain animal that lives in small groups for most of the year. However, during the annual 'rut' groups of up to 30 animals come together with large adult males fighting for the right to breed.

Oman is also home to other mammals including the Blanfords fox, Ruppels sand fox, red fox, caracal lynx, wildcat, sandcat, Brandt's hedgehog, Ethiopian hedgehog, Indian-crested porcupine, genet, whitetailed mongoose, Arabian wolf, striped hyena, rock hyrax as well as numerous rodents.

The hunting, killing or capture of all wildlife species is illegal in Oman and offenders face sentence of up to five years imprisonment and fines of RO 5,000. This demonstrates the Sultanate's commitment to its wildlife.

In addition, the Sultanate ratified in 1994 the Convention for Biological Diversity - which is a global commitment to the conservation of wild animals and plants.

Wild Life:- Birds Oryx Wild Animals Turtles Nature Reserves

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