Wednesday 18 October sees the prestigious 2017 Oman Natural Heritage Marine Lecture taking place at the RGS-IBG’s Ondaatje Theatre, with speakers Aida Al Jabri, Suaad Al Harthi and Rob Baldwin. Entitled ‘Oman’s Whales, Dolphins and Turtles’, it’s an evening open to anyone interested in new marine field science and conservation developments in the Sultanate of Oman, and is being chaired by Kamela Al Barami from the Oman Embassy in London and Nigel Winser from The Oman Group in UK. Fifty Geographical readers will be able to claim a free ticket to attend the lecture. See below for details.
Whales and Dolphins of Oman – Aida al Jabri
Aida Al Jabri is a Marine Environment Specialist in Oman’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA), Marine Conservation Environment Department. At MECA she currently holds the position of Acting Head of the Marine Environment Section and serves as a technical environmental expert and trainer on all aspects of marine conservation. Aida has a passion for whales and dolphins and has established draft executive government regulations for the management of whale and dolphin tourism activities. She also serves as lead Oman government official developing protocols for implementation of a country-wide marine mammal and turtle stranding network.
‘Most of what we know about whales and dolphins in Oman comes from the study of strandings and recent high-tech research involving satellite tracking, cutting-edge genetic study, vessel surveys at sea and passive acoustic monitoring,’ says Aida. ‘This has revealed a cetacean fauna of a diversity that few could have expected before earnest work began in Oman in the early 2000s. A year-round feeding and breeding resident of Oman, the Arabian Sea humpback whale has been isolated here for over 70,000 years following a southern hemisphere range expansion and constriction that left a relic whale in Arabian Seas. It is not only one of the most isolated of the world’s whales, but is also one of the rarest.’
Aida’s lecture will look into the population numbers and ranges of these creatures, the threats they face and the work being done by groups to help conserve their numbers. She also explains how we can learn more about Oman’s whales and dolphins and how tourism, properly regulated, may benefit attempts towards successful conservation.
The 30-year journey of Sea Turtles of Masirah Island, Oman – Suaad Al Harthi
Suaad Al Harthi is the Program Director at the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), the only environmental NGO in the Sultanate of Oman. Her role involves promoting environmental awareness and advocating for conservation through the development of community outreach, environmental education and, research and conservation programmes. Prior to joining ESO, Suaad worked for the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi as a Coastal Zone Manager with work focused on coral reef monitoring, coastal zone management and development of a maritime strategy for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Suaad holds a Master’s degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of San Diego.
‘The global importance of Oman to the survival of “Endangered” and “Critically Endangered” sea turtles has been definitively established through surveys and research conducted over the past 35 years,‘ says Suaad. ‘Over the last decade, a team including the Environment Society of Oman, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs and senior scientists from Five Oceans Environmental Services, has played the lead research role on turtles at Masirah Island, which hosts the world’s second largest population of loggerhead turtles, as well as three other species.’
Suaad’s work has accelerated knowledge and understanding of turtle biology, ecology and conservation needs in Oman, while at the same time revealing a dramatic decline in numbers that requires an urgent conservation response. She will be asking whether conservation action can help arrest the population decline and put one of Oman’s most fascinating marine wildlife species on the road to recovery.
Rob Baldwin is a company Director and specialist marine research scientist at Five Oceans Environmental Services in Oman and has lived and worked in the Middle East for over 25 years. He began his career in Coastal Zone Management and has since broadened his experience to include a range of environmental disciplines. Rob is a recognized authority on the Arabian region’s cetacean and sea turtle fauna and represents several international organisations as an expert advisor, such as IUCN (the World Conservation Union), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Rob has been a driving force behind the challenge to understand and protect the marine life of the Arabian region and has written several books and many scientific papers on the subject.
GET YOUR FREE TICKET!
To claim your free ticket to the 2017 lecture, simply fill in the form below and click Sign Up to book your place. Tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one ticket per submission allowed (for multiple tickets, all interested attendees will have to submit a separate form with a different email address). Successful registrants will be notified within 24 hours of their submission. Please note that travel arrangements to the event are not included with the ticket. Offer open to UK residents only.
Oman Natural Heritage Marine Lecture 2017
‘Oman’s Whales, Dolphins and Turtles’
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London
Wednesday 18 October 2017
A special ticketed evening lecture 7.00-8.30pm – doors open 6.00pm
In the Ondaatje Theatre, RGS-IBG, London SW7 2AR
Details and Further Tickets availbel to purchase from Eventbrite (General Public £12, RGS-IBG Members £7, Students and OAPs £5):