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Removed WHS and their viability to be Re-nominated?

Author winterkjm
Registered
#1 | Posted: 24 Dec 2017 11:04 
Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

Apparently the sanctuary has been greatly enlarged from its reduced size 10 year ago, and the population of Oryx is larger than any time during inscription? Could Oman simply re-nominate the property?

https://www.dailysabah.com/tourism/2017/12/23/oman-opens-sprawling-reserve-for-fabled -arabian-oryx-to-ecotourists

Author Solivagant
Registered
#2 | Posted: 25 Dec 2017 08:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
winterkjm:
Apparently the sanctuary has been greatly enlarged from its reduced size 10 year ago, and the population of Oryx is larger than any time during inscription?

I have taken the opportunity of this very recent article cited above from a Turkish source ( Daily Sabah) to look into the history of the "Arabian Oryx Sanctuary" since its removal from the List in 2007. This is a site I have a certain "personal interest" in, having been within its boundaries before its de-listing and having thereby "lost" it from my "count"!
As is often the case the situation is rather more complex than the latest article indicates!
a. The sanctuary has been re-named "Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve" within much reduced boundaries cf the original WHS, possibly to "disconnect" it from its earlier manifestation and its somewhat "unfortunate" history!!. More strictly, the name is "Natural Living Sanctuary in the Al Wusta Region" as per a royal decree of Aug 2011. See -
https://meca.gov.om/en/files/maraseem/Decisions3806129571.pdf
b. This Reserve has been totally fenced but poaching still seems to be a problem - see this article from Fe 2017 - www.thenational.ae/world/oman-chooses-oil-over-the-oryx-1.44665 .
c. Since de-listing, Oman has continued a captive breeding project within the Reserve/Sanctuary and has also received more animals from Saudi Arabia. It has been opened for "ecotourism" visits e.g http://www.omanobserver.om/al-wusta-reserve-open-2-weeks-public/ . This, or other similar "local" articles would seem to be the source of the article cited above from the Turkish outlet.
d. What is not so clear, is the status of the animals within this "sanctuary". Are they "Wild" or "Captive? And how many in each? The following IUCN paper from 2011 "(Global reintroduction perspectives") includes a chapter on the Omani Oryx Reserve titled "The re-introduction of Arabian Oryx to the Al Wusta Wildlife Reserve in Oman: 30 years on". (See document page 194 or pdf page 210) - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mansoor_Aljahdhami/publication/277011098_The_rei ntroduction_of_Arabian_oryx_to_the_Al_Wusta_Wildlife_Reserve_Oman_30_years_on/links/5 5616ff308ae86c06b64ac1a/The-reintroduction-of-Arabian-oryx-to-the-Al-Wusta-Wildlife-R eserve-Oman-30-years-on.pdf . The chart on document page 196 (pdf 212) is of interest. It shows separate lines for each of "Wild" and "Captive" as of start 2011. Note the sudden rise in "wild oryx" at the end which seems to coincide with "In early 2011, about 60 Arabian oryx have been released to the fenced area.". So the c350 "Captive Oryx" must have been living inside a more restricted area even than the now fenced reduced Sanctuary area. The numbers in both may have increased since 2011 but would still seem likely to include many which are truly "captive", whilst the others are still fenced in.
e. It would therefore seem that Oman is continuing to run its controlled breeding project at Jaalani but within within a park/sanctuary which has much reduced boundaries compared with the original inscribed WHS and would not seem to have any intention of increasing that current size - indeed it is having problems policing even that limited area. The numbers of Oryx cited as being within that Sanctuary would appear to include both those which are "wild" in the sense of living within the fenced boundary and those which are within a much smaller "Captive Breeding" area!!
f. This report of 2010 ( www.arabianoryx.org/AR/Downloads/Arabian%20oryx%20strategy.pdf ) places Oman's contribution to re-establishment of the Oryx in "Arabia" in a regional context. It defines the various potential "wildness statuses" for Oryx as follows
i. Free-ranging (not confined)
ii. Part-fenced (oryx partly confined)
iii. Fenced (oryx confined by a perimeter fence, trench, or sea (in case of island)
iv. Unmanaged (no management measures of any kind)
v. Part-managed (some of supplementary forage/water provided, and/or habitat manipulation or improvement; and/or veterinary assistance)
vi. Managed (all of the above)
vii. Captive Breeding (confined, fully-managed, including controls on breeding). Not that IUCN would even see that as a long term objective
On this basis the situation in Oman seems a long way short of what IUCN would regard as "ideal" - and with no apparent pathway to anything different from either "Captive" or "Fenced"
g. There is no indication anywhere that Oman sees any need to go again for WHS status for what is now the "Natural Living Sanctuary in the Al Wusta Region" as part of its ecotourism strategy or that it would want to re-open the areas whose removal from the Reserve led to its delisting - nor that IUCN, which is still clearly "active" in Oryx preservation across "Arabia", sees that as a potential or worthwhile longer term objective!

Author winterkjm
Registered
#3 | Posted: 25 Dec 2017 11:52 
Sounds somewhat similar to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 1,800 acres (730 ha) of free-range enclosures. Perhaps this is the model Oman wishes to pursue at this point?

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