Arabian Leopard in Dhofar

The advancing monsoon was descending on Salalah as I spent time there with Hadi Al Hikmani whose passion and work is researching Arabian Leopard in Dhofar. His family keep an extraordinary number of goats below the mountains and they are a potential prey of the Leopard.

Hadi checking scat
Hadi checking scat

During a six-hour trek through the mountain’s of Dhofar, Hadi expertly examined tracks and scat for their story. It seemed we were perhaps half an hour behind a couple of Leopard who hid and then crossed the track after we passed, as on our return their tracks overlaid ours.

Leopard Print over my shoe print
Leopard Print over my shoe print

The cloud cover and mist made what could have been an arduous exercise for me in the normal heat of Oman, comfortable. Like large cats the world over, Arabian Leopard in Dhofar are under considerable pressure –and it was a tremendous experience to share their habitat and learn more about them from Hadi.

Goat kids Dhofar
Goat kids Dhofar

Tea and conversation surrounded by goats and kids (of both meanings) in a magnificent setting was a refreshing end to this visit to Dhofar. While the older goats are walked through the mountains so they can graze, the kids which are kept in the vicinity of their pens until their mothers arrive back just before sunset were an enjoyable distraction as they cavorted around the area.