Recent Trip to Oman

Some of you knew that I recently (well, already a couple months ago) went to Oman, for those of you that did not, it was for the first stage of shooting for a film about Arabian Leopards, their plight, and the Omani researchers that are studying them. Terra Mater, an Austrian production company is funding the film, as well as ARTE, and the crew is made up of of people from all over the world. It was a great experience and I return with many more friends than I when I left.

Ironically, though most definitely not a coincidence, we were filming only a few miles from the Hawf Protected Area in Yemen, where I spent three months looking for Arabian Leopards. This time, we were in Oman, just across the border. The political situation is of course much safer, though as I have stated before, I was never in any danger in Yemen, mainly because I was so far east from all the trouble zones. Arabian Leopards have also been studied for a longer period of time here. In fact, this is the birthplace of research on these majestic creatures. Hadi Al Hakmani is the principal researcher for leopards in Oman having studied them for over twelve years; it was a true honor meeting him. His love for the animals and his work was inspiring and truly genuine. The same goes for Khalid, who has also been dedicating his life towards ensuring and bettering the conservation efforts for these critically endangered animals. Having gotten to spend time with both of them, and counting them as friends, made the trip worthwhile by itself.

Since this was the first trip, I’ll fill you in on more of the details after completion of the project, but for now a couple of pictures.

The Habitat:

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86069-Oman Wadi

Wadi landscape, Oman — told you it looked like Yemen

The crew:

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86703-Ben Young

Ben Young – Sound/Camera

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86214-David Den

David Eden – Sound

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86610-Mike Birkhead

Mike Birkhead – Director

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86179-Caroline-Mike

Caroline Bridges and Mike Cuthbert – Both Camera

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86064-Zara McDonald

Zara McDonald (from Felidae Conservation Fund) – Presenter

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86317

What am I doing here again? (taken by Khalid who is quite the photographer)

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86774-Sebastian Gruebl

Sebastian (Basti) Gruebl – Terra Mater

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86187-Khalid

Khalid – Arabian Leopard Researcher

Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86856-Hadi Al Hikmani

Hadi Al Hakmani – Arabian Leopard Researcher


Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86363-Goat Barbeque

We always ate really well, thanks to our cook, this was a feast of goat barbeque.


Sebastian Kennerknecht-IMG_86626-Arabian Wolf

Arabian Wolf – I kid you not, Khalid said he had a feeling we would see a wolf that day!