Biosphere Expeditions Confirms Evidence of Arabian Leopard
The recently conducted Biosphere Expeditions research project, which was sponsored for the second time by Land Rover, was successfully completed with conclusive evidence that the Arabian leopard still exists in the region.
Supported by the Office of the Advisor for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan Royal Court, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment and Water Resources and the Ministry of Tourism, this expedition brought together people from different walks of life with a single mission of supporting wildlife conservation and conducting a survey on the existence of the Arabian leopard in the Musandam peninsula and its current status and distribution in the region.
The combined hard work from the field scientists and help from local people has resulted in the exciting find of fresh leopard tracks less than 24 hours old. “The entire team is elated, and we have set up camera at promising sites hoping to catch a glimpse of the Arabian Leopard,” said Kate Curnow, an expedition team member from Australia.
Biosphere Expeditions team members have also heard a leopard calling and there have been three leopard sightings reported in the last two months. Other mounting evidence such as leopard tracks, claw rakes and scrape now points to a small remaining population of Arabian leopard in Musandam. Signs were also found of other wildlife including caracal and fox. One caracal and three Blandford's foxes were sighted and a camera trap captured the picture of a passing Blandford's fox.
Speaking on behalf of the expedition team, Dr. Matthias Hammer, Founder and Managing Director of Biosphere Expeditions, said, “We are very pleased with the success of the expedition and the results achieved. We have come a long way since last year’s presence/absence survey that showed no concrete outcome. We are proud to announce this year’s groundbreaking evidence of the existence of the very elusive big cat through track sightings and leopard calling.”
He added, “The success of the expedition attributes to the encouraging team of participants; the enthusiastic local inhabitants who provided an invaluable source of knowledge, the local Oman authorities and of course Land Rover, our main sponsor who provided us with an invaluable fleet of LR3s that enabled us to reach the most remote areas and cover the tricky mountainous terrains.”
The LR3s served as perfect support vehicles as they offered an ideal combination of comfort, capability and functional utility. With the help of our trusted Land Rovers we could cover the most difficult terrains due to the unmatched breadth of capability that this vehicle offers.”
Speaking on Land Rover’s involvement, Marwan Halabi, General Manager: Marketing, said, “Biosphere Expeditions provided us with an ideal opportunity to be part of an endeavor that supports sustainability and preservation of the environment we operate in, which is an area that we strongly believe in. Our partnership has been very rewarding as we share the same values and have a singular mission of working towards a common cause of conserving the biosphere.”
This expedition is especially significant, since the Arabian leopard is the last surviving species of big cats in the Arabian Peninsula and is a severely endangered species.