UNEP report says Oman ‘unique world of nature’

NAIROBI: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described the Sultanate as a “unique world of imagination and nature” because of its rich elements of beauty. Oman is endowed with a rich natural bounty, it said, referring to the country’s mountain ranges, valleys, plains, slopes and rocky hills. The coastal areas are home to green turtles, red sharks, dolphins, whales and predatory birds such as the Egyptian eagle and the golden eagle. The Sultanate has 99 different species of mammals, said the report.
The reserves of Ras al Hadd, Ras al Jinz and Masirah Island are considered one of the largest where green turtles nest, it said.
It has 30 sq km of coral reefs, making it a fertile ground for plants and millions of migratory sea birds.
The UNEP said the Sultanate has rich desert landscapes ranging from the golden sand dunes in the east, Jeddah al Harasis in the centre and the desert of Al Rub al Khali in the far south — a habitat for predators such as lynx, sand foxes and cats.
Dhofar is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the peninsula, it said, citing its natural scenery and its wide range of tropical fruits.
The report said the Sultanate is home to 1,212 species of plants.
In the past ten years, it has developed the Oman Botanic Garden, the largest database documented in the Arabian Peninsula, including 1,407 documented species.
Oman attracts millions of tourists each year, the report said, citing the government’s efforts to increase awareness of its many tourism components and ensuring the protection of its rich biodiversity.
It said the Sultanate is the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to establish the Ministry of Environment, which has led to the development of a comprehensive law for the protection of environment.
A prize for the conservation of environment, known as the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation, has also been instituted. — ONA