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Empty Quarter Expedition: Oman


On January the 8th, I depart with a team from across the UK on an expedition to the Empty Quarter and Dhofar Mountains of Oman. Our primary aim is to establish the presence of the critically endangered Arabian Leopard, a subspecies thought to number less than 200 in the wild. We will also be conducting a baseline biodiversity survey in this little explored region whilst working with Omani scientists, rangers and students to support conservation in this unique area.

Here’s the plan:

Initially we will travel by 4×4 to Al Hashman, on the edge of Empty Quarter. Here we will be immersed in a thoroughly different way of life and work to survey this apparently barren landscape whilst traveling through it on foot.

We will then head South to the coast. Here we will transport all our kit along to a remote beach with the assistance of local fishermen. Base camp will be established high up on the beach, at the base of Wadi Sayq where we know there is a small source of fresh water. From this base we will attempt to penetrate up the Wadi and it’s side channels, laying camera traps and looking for tracks. We will also survey reptiles, mammal, bird and insect populations and verify reports of cave art high up in the cliffs.

One of the biggest factors is water, if we can find another source high up in the Wadi then we will have much more flexibility. If not, then it’s back to good old hard work, and we might have to lay caches.

With a bit of luck we’ll be able to send back blogs, and maybe a few photo’s if the gods of satellite comms smile down on us.

Please follow our progress, our success really depends on your support. Few people are aware of the plight of the Arabian Leopard, this is something we hope to change. You can read updates here.

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  1. Maud de Bohan
    Maud de Bohan01-10-2012

    Hi James,

    My name is Maud de Bohan, I am french and I am a film director for a french company, Patly productions.
    We presently prepare a footage in Oman, in order to film a 52 minut long documentary, that will be on air this summer in France, on a public chanel, named France 5.
    It’s a serie of 6 documentaries, the tittle is “Somewhere on earth”, you can see some extracts on our web site

    The aim of these programs is to offer the audience a vast series about outstanding places on earth that are still pristine and well preserved. Our intention is to show that there are secret places, incredible lands where nature has maintained it’s original beauty and purity.

    The reason why I try to contact you is about your present expedition in Oman, wich sounds very exciting. I look for some people like you for my documentary, who loves nature and who loves to do some expeditions in some very remote areas. What I have seen in your blog about you seems to be very interesting, your activity as a biologist and your passion of nature and environment.

    First, if it’s possible, I would like to know more about you and what you do excatly in the empty quarter.
    Second, I would like to know if you would be available in march, a few days (one week max) for a footage about your story in Oman. Our team (one guide, one cameraman and I) is very small, we are not a big production, but we are very passioned. Our work is a way to convince our audience to keep dreaming about remote areas and also to keep an eye on the environment.

    Well, the best would be certainly to talk directly together about all that on the phone or by e’mail. You can reach me any time on my mobile, I live in Paris (we have 2 hours less than you in Oman) : here is the number

    My e’mail adress is :

    I look foward to hear from you.

    Best regards,

    Maud de Bohan
    Film director
    Patly productions

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