It’s been a month since we arrived back at Heathrow, weary from the expedition, but elated at how much we managed to achieve in that time. Since we arrived home, long hours have been spent trawling through camera trap footage and reams of data so that we can draw knowledge and conclusions from our findings.
So it is with great pleasure that the British Schools Exploring Society in collaboration with the Oman Office for Conservation of the Environment can now release a collection of images captured during our fieldwork in Oman. This we hope, offers an insight into the incredible variety of life that survives in this apparently inhospitable environment. Think for a moment, this rare and privileged glimpse of Hyena, Caracal and Leopard… Imagine then these animals against a backdrop of towering cliffs rising into the sky. This is truly a wild place, and in our modern world wilderness has so much value.
Personally, these images fill me with a great deal of hope. Hope that an iconic animal such as the Arabian Leopard can cling on to existence, when so much has been written about its decline. Hope, thanks to the countless people and organisations that supported our work, financially, logistically, and of course with hours spent in the field. Hope that the herculean conservation effort led by the Omanis will see the Arabian Leopard saved from extinction.
Lastly, I would add, that before visiting Oman having read everything I could on the subject, my outlook on the Leopards future was justifiably grey. Walking in its tracks, hearing it in the night, and capturing these images, reminded me that the most powerful tool in conservation is optimism.
This article was originally published over on the BSES blog. If you would like to support conservation in Oman then there are lots of ways you can help. If you found this story interesting, then why not tell a friend and help make more people aware. Better yet, we’re returning to Oman next January and you or someone you know could get involved – find out more here.