Oman-US forum focuses on saving wild animals

Muscat, March 5 –
The Arabian leopard is one of the critically endangered animals as fewer than 100 are said to be alive in the wild. They are found in Najaf desert of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman. Dhofar mountains (Jabal Samhan Reserve) are considered their last stronghold.
This was revealed at the launch of Omani-American Environment Forum, inaugurated under the patronage of Najeeb al Rawas, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.
The forum, held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Muscat, was attended by specialists from authorities concerned from Oman and the US.
The forum discussed the agenda for 2018-2021. Specialists in the ministry highlighted a number of programmes executed in the area of nature conservation and environmental affairs, including national capacity-building programmes, enhancement of nature reserves and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs seeks to rehabilitate the cadres and gain international expertise in the various environmental fields.
A total of 1,425 leopards were killed by poachers between 2000 and 2012 and 3,200 wild leopards are remaining in the world, it was learnt at the forum.
According to the forum members, the big cats still face many threats, especially those related to poaching, illegal trade and wars, resulting in their numbers dropping drastically. Some are critically endangered or on the brink of extinction.
The number of lions has decreased by 80 per cent. They are found in 27 African countries and one Asian country, but only seven countries are known to have more than 1,000 lions.