Aflaj and Leopards in Oman

The Royal Geographical Society held a couple of events mid-week; the Shackleton photography exhibition and talks about Leopards in Oman and the Sultanate’s Aflaj (the plural of Falaj) organised by Nigel Winser.

Royal Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society

With a large crowd , including several Ambassadors and innumerable fellow scientists, Hadi & Abdulaziz had a very interested audience. Abdulaziz has been involved in a multi-level project that is intended to maximize the productivity of water used in a Falaj system through Aquaponics.

Abdulaziz Al Huseini
Abdulaziz Al Huseini

He explained that the water would initially be used to supply tanks holding Tilapia which would be a food product that could be sold. The Tilapia would additionally add nutrients to the water which would then be drip fed into the fields of crops. The power for the system is solar, ideal in a desert country. The scale of the project is small in a single Falaj at Luzugh, however, it is one which will easily be expanded and rolled out into other Aflaj systems.

Hadi Al Hikmani
Hadi Al Hikmani

Hadi used the historical range of the Arabian Leopards in Oman, which covered the mountains along the south and west coast of Arabia with the more isolated ranges of Oman’s Hajar and Saudi Arabia’s Tuwayq range, to compare with the 5 small pockets of today’s animals. Camera traps have illustrated the state of Oman’s current Arabian Leopard population. Clinging to the southern escarpment of Dhofar’s mountains are almost all the surviving population of Oman’s Leopard population. An anomalous micro population has erupted beyond these southern slopes and it is these that Hadi intends to investigate in more detail.