Dr. Matthias Hammer, Biosphere Expeditions Founder and Executive Director
Land Rover, the premium and luxury 4x4 automotive manufacturer, has for the sixth consecutive year supported Biosphere Expeditions to continue its commitment to conservation in the Middle East. The Biosphere Expeditions research project, which began on 6 February and ended on 3rd March, aims to bridge the gap between conservation scientists and the wider public. The team, led by Dr. Matthias Hammer, continued its pursuit of the Arabian leopard with the support of the world’s most capable all terrain Land Rover; the multiple award-winning LR4.
Additionally, the expedition vehicles were outfitted with Land Rover accessories and off road tyres at the Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC’s Land Rover Sales & Service facility in Muscat. On-the-ground support was also provided by Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC’s Land Rover Sales & Service facility in Salalah.
The LR4’s dynamic on-road and class leading off-road capability ensured that it was the most suitable partner for the challenging terrains the expedition team faced in Oman. Land Rover supplied four LR4s and a range of equipment useful for the expedition to search for the Arabian leopard, which resides amidst the stunning backdrop of Oman’s Dhofar mountains. The Arabian leopard is the last of the big cat species that remains in the GCC and previous years’ expeditions have demonstrated that it may well have a successful habitat and lifestyle based on the presiding ecosystem albeit with only a handful of individuals.
Biosphere Expeditions ensure that the search project for the leopard is widened by bringing scientists and the wider public together to help learn about the conditions and habitat of rare and endangered wildlife.
In conjunction with the Office for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court and the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs (MECA), the 2011 project focused on an area close to Salalah to establish the continuing existence of the Arabian leopard.
“We are extremely pleased to return to Oman in order to conduct our surveys and to continue our search for such an endangered species. Our base-camp is in Wadi Ayun, around two hours from Salalah, and with the support of Land Rover and our expedition participants we widened the search for the Arabian leopard and helped benefit the conservation work we are engaged in with the support of the government,” explains Dr. Matthias Hammer, Biosphere Expeditions Founder and Executive Director.
The expedition in Dhofar commenced on 6 February and ended on 4 March with volunteers from across the world supporting the initiative. Volunteers underwent intense training on field and animal identification training, before venturing out to track and record signs of the Arabian leopard’s presence.
“Land Rover continues to stay at the forefront of automotive excellence and sustainability. And as their partners we’re excited to have provided vehicle support and bring about positive change for environmental conservation in our country,” comments David Aziz, Director Automotive, Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC.
“Land Rover continues to be a staunch supporter of conservation efforts globally and in the GCC and it is an honor to be able to support excellent initiatives carried out by the Biosphere Expeditions team,” adds Robin Colgan, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover MENAP.