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Al Dhahirah: Home to rare plants, endangered animals


What do we know of the Al Dhahirah Governorate? For both Omanis and expats, there’s not a lot. But break the information down to the respective wilayat that fall under this governorate and something will begin to bubble.

The Al Dhahirah Governorate covers the amazing wilayats of Ibri, Yanqul and Dhank and hearing these names, you’d surely recognise something outstanding about these places.

Because of its location, Al Dhahirah has a very unique and distinguished biodiversity thanks especially to its diverse topography and climate conditions.

The east side of the governorate is surrounded by majestic mountains that are moderate in summer and cold in winter. Here, one would find rare trees, the most important of which is the Alelan tree, located in the Jabal Al Sarat area in the Wilayat of Ibri.

Wadis descend from these mountains that reach even the desert areas. Because of the abundance of water not only from springs and wadis but also the often visiting rains, various animals and plants thrive here.

Eng Tariq Al Maamari, Director of the Environment Department in Al Dhahirah Governorate, explained that the governorate is riddled by different seasons which is ideal for the migration of birds. Some birds come during the flowering season and plant reproduction where they are essential in aiding the pollination process. Examples are the migration of the European magpie in the spring, along with the most important endangered bird, the Houbara Bustard, which lives in the desert areas of the governorate, as it enjoys during the autumn and winter period the availability of food, shelter and the appropriate atmosphere for this bird.

Al Maamari added that the Wilayat of Ibri is famous for the catbird, which is one of the local birds and lives in the desert areas of the wilayat. It is one of the most widespread birds that live in groups. The governorate also hosts many giant birds such as the eagle, which is one of the migratory birds that breed in the governorate.

The governorate is home to many rare and endangered animals due to its different terrain, the most important: the Arabian ibex, the Arabian gazelle, the Afghan fox and the lynx.

As for the plains area in the governorate, Al Maamari indicated that it is famous for many wild trees, the most important of which is the Sumr and Sidr tree, which is one of the most widespread trees in the Sultanate, noting that the governorate is characterised by its hot climate and lack of vegetation. Therefore, the Environment Department has recently intensified efforts to plant wild trees and encourage the public and private sectors and the local community in all its spectrum to support the initiative and plant Sumr, Ghaf, Sidr and Shua trees. It raised awareness of their importance in increasing vegetation cover, as they are able to withstand the hot climate in the region. They are perennial trees that hold the cultural heritage of the Sultanate.

The eastern part of the governorate, which falls within the Star Lights Reserve, is known for the presence of Alelan trees, which are durable and rare trees worldwide. Engineer Al Maamari touched on the efforts being made in this aspect, saying that from this point of view, the Environment Department in Al Dhahirah Governorate is making many efforts to preserve the system. In order to achieve a clean and sustainable environment, one of these efforts is the implementation of continuous monitoring patrols to preserve wildlife and the implementation of many joint patrols with other neighbouring governorates, especially during the migration seasons of endangered birds.

It also works to receive reports from citizens cooperating in preserving wildlife around the clock. the administration is in continuous with the security authorities to support and make maximum efforts to limit abuses towards wildlife.

The authority of the environment seeks to continue its efforts to develop Oman’s strategy for the environment and some sustainable environmental projects such as the project to plant 10 million wild trees throughout the Sultanate to combat desertification and spread the green area.

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