The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary is one of the largest and most important wildlife reserves in the Middle East, though its size and importance have declined in recent years. This refuge, home to several threatened desert species, was one of the only nature reserves recognized by UNESCO and located between Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Unfortunately, it also has the distinction of being the first such site to be delisted by UNESCO, leaving the future of this beautiful region very much in doubt.
The Arabian Peninsula, site of some of the most inhospitable desert terrain on Earth, was nevertheless home to a rich desert ecology stretching back into time immemorial. However, by the late 19th century, many local species were disappearing before the encroachment of man. The Arabian Oryx was completely extinct in the area before a herd was reintroduced in the 1970s. A sanctuary was established in Oman, and the area named a world heritage site. Unfortunately, the sanctuary did not work well, and poaching constantly threatened the local wildlife. A few years after the Omani government decided to significantly reduce the park, UNESCO delisted the site.
The sanctuary, which has largely been abandoned by the Omani government, is yet still home to wildlife which continues to roam the ever-shrinking territory. The main attraction, the magnificent Arabian Oryx, is down from over 400 in the 1990s to less than 100 today. Other rare animals here include the Arabian Gazalle and Arabian Wolf.
The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary technically covers a very large area of 27,500 square km, but in practice the area available for the animals to free roam is much smaller and threatened by poachers. Although located in a fairly remote corner of Oman, approximately 270 miles south of Muscat, it is fairly accessible by road. As of this writing no other visitor information was available. Web: N/A.