James borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator, with a particular interest in how species adapt to changing climate.

Empty Quarter Expedition: Facts

Prior to planning an expedition to the country, I knew embarrassingly little about Oman. I still don’t know very much, and fully expect to undergo a steep learning curve over the next few weeks. For anyone else like me who who didn’t seem to learn about Oman at school, here are a few interesting facts:


Capital: Muscat

Sultan: Qaboos bin Said Al-Said

Area: 119,500 Square Miles

Highest Point: Jabal Shams 2,980m

Bordering Countries: Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen

Currency: Rials

Oil: 860,000 barrels per day

Forested Area: 0.01%


Population: 3,027,959

Life Expectancy: 73

Average Age: 24.1 years

Language: Arabic

Literacy: 76%


Mammal Species: 58

Vascular Plant Species: 1204

Reptile Species: 86 (28 of which are snakes!)

Bird Species: 454

Number of Remaining Arabian Leopard : est. <250

These are just a few of the facts I have garnered whilst preparing for the expedition. The overwhelming theme is one of a unique and special country with a rich and colorful history. Whilst in Oman we will be living and working with Omani rangers, scientists and students from a range of organisations. The team and I are looking forward to learning a lot more over the coming months.

Please help support our expedition, by following our progress on the BSES blog (you can also follow on Twitter @BSES_exploring if you like). If you enjoy it then why not tell your friends, the more people that are aware then the better we can help conserve Oman’s unique wildlife.