Arabian leopards exist in Oman, says survey team


 "The entire team is elated and we have set up camera traps at promising sites hoping to catch a glimpse of the Arabian Leopard," said Kate Curnow, an Australian member of the expedition team, while addressing the media yesterday.
Biosphere Expeditions -an award-winning, non-profit wildlife-conservation organisation is on the second leg of its survey of the Musandam region, in collaboration with the office of the adviser for conservation of the environment, Diwan of the Royal Court.
The expedition had returned after last year’s findings indicated that the elusive feline might still be present in Musandam, but could not produce verifiable evidence.
During the second leg that started last month, the team with help from local communities discovered fresh leopard tracks which were less than 24 hours old.
Hadi Hikmani from the office of the adviser for conservation of the environment and Tessa McGregor, Biosphere Expedition’s field scientist, identified the tracks positively.
"Team members have also reported hearing a leopard’s call and there have been three reported sightings of the animal in the previous two months," said expedition leader Peter Schütte.
"These and other signs, add to mounting evidence that points to a small remaining population of Arabian Leopards in Musandam," he added.
The expedition is expected to continue its search for more signs of this magnificent and elusive big cat.
The final findings of the expedition are: A very small population of Arabian leopards is clinging on in the Musandam peninsula, which borders Fujairah emirate of the UAE.
"There is definite sign of three species of fox and caracal activity in the area," added Schütte.

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