April 18, 2009: The Oryx farm


The Oryx Farm on Saturday 18 April
Over 100 QHNG Ramblers converged on the Arabian Oryx Breeding Centre.  We were met by Dr Kassem Nasser Al-Qahtani, the Director of the Department of Animal Resources and a former director of the centre.  He brought us into the facility and introduced us to Dr Abdul Moti the centre's director.  Dr Abdul made a presentation to the group on the rescue efforts made to rescue the species from probable extinction and eventually reintroduce the Arabian Oryx to its native habitat.  From less than 150 animals, there are now over 1000 kept at the centre and at other nature reserves in Qatar.  This was followed by a 30 minute video on the Oryx project and other efforts being made by the Ministry of the Environment to preserve habitat for the Oryx and other endagered species.  Afterwards the groups had the unique opportunity to get a close-up view of the facilitiy's herds of Oryx and Gazelle. 
Our thanks go out to Drs Kassem and Abdul for making our visit such a success.
Dr Kassem, QNHG Chairman Mike Lesser
and Dr Abdul
For some more pictures click here
From the Gulf Times: 19 April 2009

QNHG visits Arabian Oryx breeding centre

QNHG chairman Michael Lesser with Dr Kassem Nasser al-Qahtani, Director of the Department of Animal Resources, and Dr Abdul Moti, Director of the Arabian Oryx Breeding  
By Fran Gillespie
Yesterday around 100 members of the Qatar Natural History Group visited the Arabian Oryx Breeding Centre (AOBC) near Sheehaniya in the centre of the Qatar peninsula. They were met and welcomed by Dr Kassem Nasser al-Qahtani, the Director of the Department of Animal Resources and a former director of the AOBC.
Dr Abdul Moti, the present director of the AOBC, gave a presentation to the group of visitors on the efforts which have been made to rescue the species from what was at one time extinction in the wild due to hunting and destruction of its natural habitat, and to eventually release it into large, carefully maintained reserves.
 From less than 150 animals, Dr Moti said, there are now over 1,000 being cared for at the breeding centre and at reserves within Qatar at Sheehaniya,  Ras Ushaijrij and al-Maszhabiya.
After watching a video on the oryx project and on the efforts being made by the Ministry of the Environment to preserve habitat for it and other endangered species, the group toured the AOBC and were given the opportunity to have close-up views of the herds of oryx and rheem gazelle. The gazelle, which became extinct in Qatar in the 1950s, has now been successfully released into open protected areas and stock is numbered at around 4,000.
Qatar was the first country in the Arab region to breed the Arabian oryx in captivity, and what was begun as a hobby by the late Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani was later taken over by the government. 
The Arabian Oryx Breeding Centre is run by the Department of Wildlife Conservation of the Ministry of the Environment, and is one of a few sites in the Middle East which have been established to prevent the extinction of the Arabian oryx. Healthy breeding stock is regularly exchanged with reserves in the UAE and Oman so as to avoid inbreeding.
The QNHG would like to thank Drs Kassem al-Qahtani and Abdul Moti for the successful visit.
Meet at 8:30 am at the Umm Arafai Petrol Stattion on the Dukhan Road

Arabian Oryx Breeding Centre The centre is run by the Department of Wildlife Conservation of the Ministry for the Environment and is one of a few sites in the Middle East established to prevent extinction of the Arabian Oryx. The centre is not a zoo, but a government run research centre so visitors are not normally allowed to enter the grounds. The animals are timid and it is therefore not an appropriate place for young children unless closely supervised.  Obviously no dogs are permitted on this ramble.
Note that there has been a change in plans and we now WILL be caravanning from the Umm Arafai Petrol Station on the Dukhan Road (Tented petrol station approximately 30 km from the centre of Doha where we often meet). To get there proceed west on the Dukhan road past Education City and just past the R/A at the Al Rayaan Sports Club.  
Any problems call Mike Lesser on his mobile 668-6234 
For Google Earth map  to the meeting point click here