A step into preserving Jabal Akhdhar’s natural treasures

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It’s easy to mistake them for furry goats and perhaps it is for this reason that they’ve become an endangered species. There was a time when they grazed freely in the rocky slopes of the Al Hajar mountains but to see them in their natural habitat today is just as accidental or unexpected as rain in the desert.

The Arabian tahr can only be found in Oman and the mountains of the United Arab Emirates including Jabal Hafeet. The smallest amongst the tahr species, they are stockily built with backwards-arching horns. Their rubber-like hooves allowed them to navigate steep slopes easily. But while they are good at hiding, faced with the challenges of overgrazing, poaching and habitat destruction, they became aloft and their numbers continue to dwindle. It’s been a while since the last Arabian tahr was spotted even in Jabal Akhdhar.

In a similar manner, the Arabian vulture is also just as endangered as the Arabian tahr and Jabal Akhdhar is one of the places they can be spotted. At over 3,000 metres above sea level, the “Green

Mountain” is home to many animal species including a unique variety of flora like the juniper tree, Ja’aada, the purple hop-bush and Christ Thorn or locally known as Sidr.

In celebration of Arab Environment Day, the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), and Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort have jointly published an infographic on the wildlife of the Sultanate’s Western Hajjar mountains.

Available online for free, the infographic illustrates the main terrestrial biodiversity of the mountain range, which is Eastern Arabia’s highest, aiming to increase knowledge and raise awareness about the most common species found there. Various species of birds, mammals and flora are included, along with their listing under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

It’s part of an ongoing relationship between ESO and the resort, as together they continue to highlight the unique diversity of Oman’s wildlife while promoting environmentally sustainable behaviour.

 

 

“In line with our commitment to preserving Oman’s natural heritage, we have been working on a range of content for informational booklets, infographics and videos, developing educational materials to share virtually, particularly during the ongoing pandemic,” said Suaad Al Harthi, Executive Director for ESO.

“Al Jabal Al Akhdhar is one of the Sultanate’s most popular tourist sites so, working in partnership with Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, we have created an infographic which we hope will serve to educate visitors about the rich variety of plants and animals they might find there. At the same time, it serves to highlight the various threats facing these species, among which is, unfortunately, unregulated tourism.”

“Al Jabal Al Akhdar is not only a beautiful location but home to so many of Oman’s most incredible natural resources. These animals and plants inspire many elements of the resort and are a great example of our connection with the environment around us,” said Rami Farhat, Acting General Manager of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort.

“As part of our commitment to promote sustainable hospitality, we’re happy to support ESO on this and other projects, so that we can safeguard our unique surroundings for visitors to continue to enjoy,”he added.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort works on a number of projects as part of the hotel’s sustainability commitment, including, Dollars for Deeds, where it matches guests’ donations to ESO rial-for-rial. The infographic is part of a wider campaign from ESO to highlight and protect Oman’s environment through education, awareness and conservation. As the country’s only non-profit organisation dedicated to the environment, ESO has spent the last 16 years working to secure Oman’s natural health for the coming generations.

The infographic can be viewed at the resort’s grounds near the Chef’s organic garden or online at http://eso.org.om/index/images/file/2020-10/Jabal_Akhdar_Poster_Digital.pdf.