Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 7, 1445 H
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Dhofar's biodiversity is a symphony of wildlife and birds

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The southern corner of the Sultanate of Oman attracts wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Dhofar is an ecological haven, boasting an extraordinary array of animals and birds, owing much of its biodiversity to its diverse landscapes that range from verdant mountains to stunning beaches.

The Al Qara Mountains offer a cool and moist refuge for various animal species during the Khareef or monsoon season. Here, amid the craggy terrain, the elusive Arabian leopard, a creature of unmatched beauty, stealthily roams. Descending from the highlands to the coastal lowlands, one experiences a dramatic transformation as arid deserts give way to luxuriant oases and wetlands. Wadi Darbat, adorned with emerald pools and cascading waterfalls, becomes a watering hole for a myriad of species. Gazelles, Arabian oryx, and Nubian ibex are frequently sighted grazing near these life-sustaining freshwater sources.

For avid birdwatchers, Dhofar is nothing short of paradise. Positioned strategically along migratory routes, the region serves as a vital rest stop for countless bird species during their annual journey. From June to September, the Khareef season witnesses a grand spectacle as migrating birds seek respite from harsher climes. Flamingos, herons, and storks adorn the coastal marshes, infusing the landscape with a vibrant burst of colour. The rugged cliffs and canyons provide ideal nesting grounds for these avian wonders.

Said al Marhoon, a celebrated Omani Photographer, has made it his mission to capture the serene beauty of Oman's nature with his camera lens. Reflecting on his experiences in the Sultanate, he shared, "My journey as a photographer in Oman, especially in Dhofar Governorate, has been an exceptional one, owing to the environmental diversity and wildlife that have provided a canvas for us to showcase our talents, explore our skills, and express ourselves in innovative ways. I felt compelled to harness the splendour of these natural landscapes and the richness of wildlife in the Sultanate to create artistic masterpieces. I aim to convey the Sultanate's rich diversity through my lens, attracting photographers and tourists worldwide."

When asked about his early experiences with photography, Said reminisced, "My journey with the camera began like that of any photographer. I encountered obstacles but overcame them through learning, practising, and seeking advice. This journey of growth and skill improvement has been enriching."

He recounted one of his most unforgettable shots was "the photograph of a mountain shaped like a lion's face. It's a scarce and unique image captured through my lens. I was the first to discover and document this mountain on social media platforms, and it gained widespread acclaim. This experience encouraged me to explore Oman's nature and environment further."

Said al Marhoon reflected on his experience photographing wildlife in Dhofar Governorate, saying, "Dhofar Governorate boasts a rich and diverse wildlife, prompting me to delve deeper into wildlife photography after capturing its natural beauty. These two realms complement each other splendidly. I continue to strive for growth in this field, recognizing that it demands more time and effort to truly capture and showcase Dhofar Governorate's natural splendour in a distinctive and personal manner."

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