Critically Endangered Arabian leopards Panthera pardus nimr persist in the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve, Oman

James Andrew Spalton a1c1, Hadi Musalam al Hikmani a1, David Willis a2 and Ali Salim Bait Said a3
a1 Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court, P.O. Box 246, Muscat 113, Oman
a2 P.O. Box 238, Al Khuwair 133, Muscat, Oman
a3 Directorate General of Environment & Water Resources, Dhofar Governorate, Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources, P.O. Box 2035, Salalah 211, Oman

Article author query
spalton ja   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
al hikmani hm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
willis d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
said asb   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Between 1997 and 2000 a survey of the Arabian subspecies of leopard Panthera pardus nimr was conducted in the little known Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve in southern Oman. Using camera-traps 251 photographic records were obtained of 17 individual leopards; nine females, five males, two adults of unknown sex and one cub. Leopards were usually solitary and trail use and movements suggested large ranges characterized by spatial sharing but little temporal overlap. More active by day than night in undisturbed areas, overall the leopards exhibited two peaks in activity, morning and evening. The survey also provided records of leopard prey species and first records of nine Red List mammal species previously unrecorded in Jabal Samhan. Although people are mostly absent from the Reserve there is some conflict between leopards and shepherds who live outside the Reserve. The numbers and activities of frankincense harvesters in the Reserve need to be managed to safeguard the leopard and its habitat. The main challenge for the future is to find ways whereby local communities can benefit from the presence of the Reserve and from the leopards that the Reserve seeks to safeguard.

(Published Online September 4 2006)
(Received March 4 2005)
(Revised June 10 2005)
(Accepted September 19 2005)

Key Words: Arabia; Arabian leopard; camera-traps; Dhofar; Jabal Samhan; leopards; Oman; Panthera pardus nimr.

c1 Correspondence: Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court, P.O. Box 246, Muscat 113, Oman. E-mail spalt@omantel.net.om