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

The Empty Quarter Expedition: History

The Sultanate of Oman is a unique land in the Arabian Peninsula, home to mankind for millennia. Despite Oman’s largely arid and formidable terrain, it is home to a surprising diversity of flora and fauna. The people of Oman are also in a unique position to preserve and protect this biodiversity, indeed over the last few decades the government of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said has possessed remarkable foresight:

“Oman has come late into the development race. We who come after can learn from the mistakes of those in front. We therefore have a considerable advantage, and if we use it properly we will surely come out into the lead. If not, we shall forever remain behind. Good planning for any project must be based on an intimate knowledge of the facts. To plan the meaningful development of Oman, we need to understand the details of our natural surroundings, just as we must know the facts about our finances, or any other function on Government. We must be aware of and understand the natural living processes of the ecosystems around us upon which we, and all mankind, depend for our continued existence upon earth.”

What renders these words even more remarkable is that they were written over 30 years ago. In the intervening time, huge progress has been made, with little resources, against a backdrop of global biodiversity loss. Nevertheless, without a hint of exaggeration, Oman, Arabia, and mankind as a whole, could bare witness to the loss of the Arabian Leopard within the next decade.

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