The first wildlife protection reserve in Jordan, Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, is once again open to the public this summer following a five-year maintenance and refurbishment programme.
Since its launch by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in 1975, the reserve has created a 22km environment for some of rarest species in the Middle East, including oryx, gazelles, hyena, imperial eagles, Egyptian vulture and onagers.
The reserve, located south east of Amman, has successfully returned Arabian oryx back to its native habitat, following its extinction from Jordan in 1920. The oryx is a large white antelope with long pointed horns – which is believed to be the origin of the mythical unicorn.
Just four oryx were brought to the park in 1978 but today a seven-person safari tour will let visitors see many oryx roaming across the large desert grassland.
In the reserve, there are 193 types of flora, as well as a wide range of animals including six species of carnivores such as the red fox, jackal, wolf, striped hyena, caracal and wild cat.