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Arabian Leopard search continues in Oman with full momentum

11 JANUARY, 2010

Land Rover, the premium 4x4 automotive manufacturer, will once again provide award-winning LR3 vehicles to support Biosphere Expeditions with their ongoing Arabian Leopard research project in Oman. This is the fifth consecutive year that Land Rover has extended its support to this project.

Biosphere Expeditions’ Arabian Leopard search project began in January 2006 in the Musandam area - working alongside the Office for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court and the Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs (MECA) - with the aim to see whether the endangered Arabian leopard, the last surviving species of the big cats in the region, was still present.

In 2007, after exhaustive research in remote and difficult terrains, Biosphere Expeditions was able to report that the Arabian Leopards still survived in the Musandam area, albeit with only a handful of individuals. This year the organisation will continue to conduct important research in Dhofar, where a sizeable population of Arabian Leopards may still exist, but further study and conservation actions are needed in order to protect this most graceful of cats.

Commenting on the expedition, Dr. Matthias Hammer, Biosphere Expeditions Founder and Managing Director said, “We are excited to return to conduct our surveys in Dhofar, a remote and mountainous region of Oman. The area we work in is already on an unofficial list of protected areas of MECA and we’re excited that the work we do for the benefit of the Arabian Leopard is also resulting in pushing this area into the priority conservation listings of the government.”

The expedition will continue this year from 17th January – 12th February in the Waid Uyun area of Dhofar. Volunteers from UK, Germany, Austria, Australia, the United States, Oman and Sweden have signed up to be part of this year’s expedition. Participants will undergo rigorous field and animal identification training, before venturing out to track and record signs of the Arabian Leopards presence and its prey animals such as mountain gazelle, hyrax and feral goats. 

“Five years into the expedition and Land Rover shows unwavering commitment to the Biosphere Expeditions once again as our global sponsor. We are extremely pleased with Land Rover to have supported our cause with the LR3 vehicles. These are perfect for venturing into some of the most remote and harshest terrains in the Dhofar area with the expedition team,” adds Ronald Seipold, this year’s leader of the expedition to Dhofar.

Offering dynamic on-road and class-leading, off-road capability, the LR3 has a number of technological innovations that ensure easy manoeuvrability on any terrain, including those that the expedition team will face in Oman.

The vehicle comes equipped with Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response system, which optimises driveability and comfort, and automatically selects the appropriate settings for the vehicle’s advanced electronic controls and traction aids.

Commenting on Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC’s involvement, David Aziz, Director Automotive said, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of our partnership with Land Rover. From the time the vehicles were first introduced in the market in 1960 to today, Land Rovers continue to stay at the forefront of automotive excellence and sustainability. And as their partners we’re excited to provide vehicle support and bring about positive change for environmental conservation in our country.”

The expedition vehicles will also be outfitted with Land Rover accessories and off-road tyres at the MHD LLC’s Land Rover Sales & Service facility in Azaiba. On ground support will also be made available from MHD LLC’s Land Rover Sales & Service facility in Salalah.

Speaking on Land Rover’s involvement, Robin Colgan, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover MENA, said, “Land Rover takes its commitment to sustainability seriously. We’ve supported Biosphere Expeditions since 2002 and are proud to provide vehicle support yet again in search of the Arabian Leopard in Oman through our partners MHD.”

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