Al Wusta- a migratory birds’ hub

Muscat, April 10 – Over 30,000 birds of from 80 different species visit the wetlands reserve of Al Wusta governorate as part of their annual migration, revealed a survey conducted by the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Shell Middle East and the Wetlands International.
Ward Hammer, head of Wetlands Program, presented a visual presentation of the survey findings, emphasizing on the importance of the information that would assist in the management of the wetlands reserve in Central Governorate and the conservation of its resources.

The project focuses on surveying the migratory birds that come to Oman during the spring season (March) from Africa and the coldest parts of northern hemisphere.

“Respecting the environment has and always will be the cornerstone of our sustainable development,” expressed Muna Al Shukaili, ‎GM – External Relation & Social Investment Lead at Shell Development Oman. “Barr Al
Hikman is truly a pristine jewel and with biodiversity under threat around the world, we are proud to be working in partnership with the Ministry, Wetlands International and a host of experts to achieve shared goals of protecting, conserving and managing natural habitats and critical ecosystems in Oman.”

Recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International, the Wetlands Reserve in Al Wusta Governorate was declared as Nature Reserve by the Royal Decree No. 51/2014 and with an area of the reserve is 2621
square kilometers. The Barr Al Hikman peninsula occupies the largest part of the Al Wusta Wetlands Reserve with an area of approximately 900 km 2 and has significant regional and international importance as the main wintering and stop-over place for migratory shorebirds. It is classified as one of the top 25 sites of international importance for migratory birds during winter in the African-Eurasian Flyway. The data collected by the team of 11 Dutch experts provides vital information for conservation planning of the site. It also supports efforts by the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs to designate the Reserve as a Ramsar site – wetlands that are recognized as being of international importance – in addition to promoting better understanding of how the Wetlands Reserve functions as an ecosystem for the waterbirds and other marine and terrestrial life that depend upon it throughout the year.