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Environment and Biodiversity Protection in Oman

 The sultanate of Oman has always struck a judicious balance between the needs of development and the environment. Industrial construction projects have to have a certificate from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and the Environment before they are allowed to go ahead. Before issuing a certificate, the ministry examines the possibility of damage to the environment and ensures that all measures have been takes to minimize pollution from waste products.


Oman has a wide variety of wildlife, some of which is now extremely rare. Strict laws exist to protect wildlife from being hunted, and nature reserves have been established to prevent encroachment on the natural habitat of species, such as leopards, hyenas, oryx, gazelle,taher, ibex, desert foxes, antelope and wild cats. Thirteen different kinds of whales and dolphins have been recorded and some 400 species of birds are to be found in Oman at different seasons of the year.

 Nature Reserves:

The turtle breeding beaches at Ras al-Had are a protected site to which entry is only allowed with permit from the ministry. The Daymaniyat islands, north west of Muscat, are designed as a bird sanctuary to which entry is restricted during the breeding season. The Wadi al-Sarin in the Wilayat of al-Amerat is home to the Arabian taher, a mountain goat unique to Oman, and the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary on the Jiddat al-Harasis, where the Arabian Oryx has been re-introduced was listed as a World Heritage Register. At the same time the project boundary was extended to hold increasing numbers of oryx-latest estimates put numbers in the herd at just under 300-which roam at will.

 The Arabian Oryx:

The last oryx in the wild was exterminated in 1972. In 1976, HM Sultan of Oman decided that a way should be found to allow their return to Oman. This was done and in 1982 the first oryx were released into the wild from the captive herd.

 Endangered Species:

Particular care is taken to protect endangered species, foe example, the houbara is protected in Oman, which has the largest population of bustard in Arabia. In January, 1996, an international meeting was held at Sultan Qaboos University to discuss how to protect this shy desert bird which has been hunted nearly to extinction. The meeting was arranged by the Ministry in conjunction with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 Rare Plant and Trees:

As well as wildlife, Oman's plants and trees are of great scientific interest. In Ja'alan a rare tree (cordia perrottetii). which occurs in Dhofar, was discovored earlier this year. It is believed to be the last of its kind in Northern Oman and is perhaps a survivor from a bygone age when the monsoon climate extended over more Oman.

 Current Environmental Problems:

Soil and water salinity in the coastal plains of Batinah in Northern Oman.

Industrial pollution to ground water

Scarcity of water as a result of long drought periods

Desertification; high winds drives the desert sands into the arable and the cultivated lands.


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