Al Saleel Natural Park, which is one of the largest wildlife reserves in the Middle East, is a natural habitat for the Arabian Gazelle. According to the latest studies, 7 per cent of the global herd of Arabian Gazelle exists in this reserve.
The reserve covers areas of the wilayats of Al Kamil and Al Wafi in the Governorate of Al Sharqiyah South, 57 km away from Sur, Environment Authority said.
The Park got its current status through the Royal Decree No. 50/97 and is spread over an area of 220 square km. It borders in the North by a mountain chain that extends up to the Sea of Oman (eastern Hajar mountains).
The main objective of establishing the reserve is to protect the plant cover and wildlife. However, other uses of the reserve are compatible with protecting the natural components like providing the opportunity for visitors to get to know the reserve closely without negatively affecting the site. Activities based on natural tourism that increases the economic benefits to the local community, directly or indirectly, along with reducing consumption of natural resources are also encouraged.
The Sultanate has been keen to preserve natural habitats and their ecosystems. It works to protect wildlife and biodiversity through the declaration of nature reserves, establishment of special protection areas, implementation of environmental regulations, and prevention of damage and pollution.
Accordingly, the 18th nature reserves have been declared, the most recent being Jabal Qahwan Nature Reserve and Bar al Hikman Wetland Reserve in Al Wusta governorate.
The reserves in the Sultanate are diversified. There are desert reserves like the Wildlife Reserve and Al Saleel Natural Park. Marine reserves like Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve, a mountainous reserve of Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve, while some reserves are marine and mountainous like the Turtles Reserve.
Furthermore, studies are being conducted currently for more than 50 natural sits, three of them are about to be declared nature reserves, while wetlands have been paid special attention.
Consequently, nine sites on Dhofar’s coast were declared nature reserves; some of them contain archaeological sites such as Khor Rori and Khor Al Baleed. In addition, the Sultanate has also been keen on making nature reserves tourism attractions on the one hand, and there is a trend to encourage scientists and researchers on the other, as these reserves are an essential support for national and international heritage.