Are you a wildlife enthusiast? This is your chance to witness some of Qatar’s most magical creatures with your own eyes!
Qatar has now reopened its doors for visiting its nine distinctive wildlife nature reserves across the country, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has announced.
The Gulf state is home to a range of captivating wildlife species – some of which have strolled the land and soared through its skies for centuries, becoming an integral part of Qatar’s culture.
The nature reserves in which the animals roam stretch out for almost 3,464 square kilometers, taking up around 23.6% of the country’s total land area, according to 2017 reports by the ministry of environment.
The animals include Arabian oryx, gazelles, cape hares, rabbits and hedgehogs amongst others.
The Arabian oryx, specifically, is considered the country’s national emblem and can be seen in many logos and symbols across the country.
The majestic animal, along with three pairs of ostriches, were recently released in the Sealine reserve as part of an experiment to test whether the animals can be suited to such an environment, whilst also introducing them as new additions to visitors.
Al Reem reserve, Al Rafaa, and Al Masshabiya are all homes to the famous Arabian oryx, among many other animals.
In Qatar, The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, also known as Al-Maha Sanctuary, is the only breeding place for this particular animal.The national animal became extinct in the wild in 1972, but was fortunately reintroduced into the wild a decade later from private reserves and zoos.
To date, there are more than 1,600 Arabian oryxes living in Qatar.
Where and how to go?
The nine nature reserves are scattered in different locations across the country. The northwestern parts are located close to the sea and the southern parts are in desert lands.
The most prominent and biggest reserve is Khor Al Odeid, which is recognised by UNESCO and is considered one of the country’s most impressive natural wonders.
The nature reserves ensure biodiversity and the safety of such species, and now with visitations being made available for the public, wildlife enthusiasts can witness in-person such extraordinary animals in their natural habitat.
“Amid growing international concerns on biodiversity and climate change, the nature reserves and protected areas were declared in Qatar which is not only protecting wildlife but also caring for ecosystem like meadows and green areas,” said Salem Al Safran, Assistant Director of the Natural Reserves Department at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, on Qatar TV on Tuesday.
He explained that any group or entity interested in visiting the reserves can make an official request to the public relations department. The request should include the purpose of the visit, intended time and the number of visitors, for the ministry to ensure all the necessary arrangements for the group.
To guard the animal’s safety and protect the nature reserves, a team of field inspectors armed with judicial powers petrol the areas.
“The special environmental prosecution is facilitating greatly in curbing the violations in the protected areas and nature reserves,” the official added.