December 4 is observed internationally as World Wildlife Conservation Day. There are 41,415 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, and 16,306 of them are extremely endangered species. There are success stories too – an example is the Iberian lynx, which was a critical predator in Mediterranean ecosystems. Twenty years ago, there were only 94 Iberian lynx left, and a recovery programme allowed the number of Iberian lynx to climb to over 1,100, showing the power of conservation.
The Sultanate of Oman is alert over the issue of wildlife and trying to come out with specific codes to deal with the violators of wildlife protection norms.
According to the United Nations, “Over 8,400 species of wild fauna flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are understood to be endangered or vulnerable.”
UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 15 focuses on halting biodiversity loss, and this indicates the importance of conservation.
One of the biggest challenges in conservation is wildlife trafficking in addition to poaching.
Even though the Day has been spreading awareness on the protection of wildlife species and their habitats since 2012, the challenges continue with wildlife trafficking, demand for animal parts and invasion of their habitats. Loss of wildlife has a direct impact on the balance of biodiversity. Hunting and smuggling of gazelles and oryx can fetch a fine of RO 5,000 and imprisonment of five years.
In the Sultanate of Oman, the Environment Authority is concerned with preparing and implementing laws, regulations and decisions related to nature conservation and wildlife preservation. The authority also contributes to assessing developmental projects. Oman has also been working on rehabilitating degraded ecosystems as well as creating wildlife protection units, special measures have been taken to protect wildlife from being poached.