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Shaumari reserve gives new life to endangered Oryx species

By Maria Weldali - Mar 08,2020 - Last updated at Mar 08,2020

Currently, 70 Arabian Oryx inhabit Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (Photo courtesy of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature)

AMMAN — In response to the endangered status given to the Arabian Oryx in the 1970s, the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve has taken measures, specifically the expansion of ecological balance, to preserve the rare species.

The reserve, established in 1975 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) on a 22-square-kilometre plot of land in Azraq, aims to provide spaces for breeding, preserve the existing gene pool, boost genetic diversity and reintroduce endangered species into the wild, Shaumari Wildlife Reserve Director Ashraf Al Halah told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

“The concrete goal of the reserve is to have self-sustaining, healthy and genetically diversified species,” Halah expressed, adding that the reserve has kept conditions conducive to the health of the Arabian Oryx since 1978, in addition to protecting them from over-hunting and conducting reintroduction programmes.

“In 1978, 11 Arabian Oryx were brought to the reserve from outside of Jordan. By 1999, their numbers had increased to 230,” the director said.

Currently, 70 Arabian Oryx inhabit Shaumari, as many of them have been distributed to neighbouring countries as part of the RSCN’s efforts to conserve the threatened species, according to information shared by the RSCN with The Jordan Times on Sunday.

The reserve is home to 193 varieties of plants, 38 species of animals, including gazelles, and 96 species of birds, among them ostriches and bustards, the RSCN noted.


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