MUSCAT: A scientific study conducted by the National Field Research Centre for Environmental Conservation (NFRCEC) at the Diwan of Royal Court has unveiled four new species of fat-tailed gerbil at the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve in Dhofar Governorate. In addition, the study unveiled a new species of river fish as well as 92 bird species belonging to 33 bird families and a new species of starfish. The study also discovered 250 animal species inside the reserve. Jabal Samhan is classified as one of the exceptional nature sites not only in terms of natural scenic and stunning tough terrain, but also as a natural habitat for various species of animals and plants. Spanning 4,500 sq km, the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve is the largest nature reserve in Dhofar.
The study was aimed at documenting biodiversity and identifying the natural habitats for the purpose of setting up a database for measuring environmental changes. Recently, the Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs has issued a decision banning certain activities at the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve. It prohibits access to the reserve outside the permissible times of visit, camping or overnight stay in the reserve without a permit from the ministry.