Daymaniyat… more than an island

921501Zainab al Nassri –

The decision to make written permits mandatory for visiting the Daymaniyat Island is a reflection of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs’s “seriousness” in protecting the natural reserve’s habitat”.
As per the new regulations, a written permit from the ministry is a must for visiting the island. A maximum of 12 people or five tents will be allowed. Regulations also specify the fees for obtaining permits for importing/exporting endangered animals.
Camping is barred between May and October because that is the time the green turtles return to the island. It is also the nesting time for some rare species of birds, including the sooty falcon.
During the remaining months, camping permits are issued only for visits to two islands: “The Big Mountain’ and ‘Aljon’.
The decision is part of the ministry’s efforts to make the island a better place for wildlife breeding and to ensure the sustainability of natural resources.
The island, an archipelago of nine scattered islands, extends for 203 km from Seeb to Barka. They are: Kharaba, Big Mountain, Small Mountain, Mamlaha, Lumia, Qesma, Aljon, and Awald Jon.
There are 15 types of wild plants, most of which grow in Kharaba and Big Mountain, creating a perfect habitat for the nesting birds. Besides, there are various types of marine weeds and algae — sources of food for turtles and mammals.
The island is a natural environment for birds such as osprey and sooty falcon. During the migration season, it plays home to birds such as white/ grey heron, sea ducks, seagulls, crested tern, among others. Marine turtles live on the island.
The number of loggerhead turtles that nest there reach 300 every year. They live in places rich in coral reefs, hiding from foxes, wolves and dogs that feed on their eggs and babies.
Dolphins and whale sharks, and black-headed whales also live in waters surrounding the island along with fish such as greasy grouper (locally known as hammor), emperor (sheri), mackerel (kanad), tuna and ornamental fishes. The island is also home to some types of reptiles and sea snakes.