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.