Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Al Jubayhah, Jordan

Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Al Jubayhah, Jordan
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Attum O.,Indiana University Southeast | Rosenbarger D.,Indiana University Southeast | Al Awaji M.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Kramer A.,Indiana University Southeast | Eid E.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Mammalia | Year: 2017

Striped hyenas have a widespread distribution in arid and semi-Arid areas of Africa and Asia. However, very little is known about their population status or ecology. We used camera traps to estimate the population size and waterhole use patterns of striped hyenas visiting artificial waterholes in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan. The population size of hyenas at waterholes was estimated, using capture-recapture (identified from unique stripe patterns) method, to be nine animals in 2010 and 10 animals in 2012. Waterhole visits occurred almost entirely at night, with monthly visitation rates increasing in the hotter summer months and as the duration from the last rainfall increased. In conclusion, our results suggest that the Dana Biosphere Reserve provides safe drinking opportunities for a small population of striped hyenas and the use of these permanent artificial waterholes increases in the late summer months. © 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2017.


Demeo T.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Triepke F.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Al Smadi E.M.A.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Ananbeh Y.,Ajloun Forest Reserve | Duran F.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Areas Journal | Year: 2010

Management of the nature reserve network in Jordan by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) requires information on the productivity and diversity of each reserve. Moreover, calculation of biomass is becoming increasingly important, not only for local firewood estimates, but also in a global context of determining carbon management options. Accordingly, we developed a 200-m grid for the systematic random selection of sample sites within the recently established 12 km2 Ajloun Reserve, in the evergreen oak zone of northern Jordan. The method applied can be used in a variety of ecosystems and is in accord with local resources of staffing and training. In order to develop a method to compare these ecosystems across broad areas, we used high resolution satellite imagery to make ocular estimates of tree volume (as a depiction of biomass) for all 167 grid points falling within the reserve. A subset of 57 grid points was randomly selected and field sampled for calibration of the ocular estimates. Diameter and species were recorded for all trees in each sample. Stem counts were made by species for all tree regeneration (stems < 2.0 cm diameter). Following the inventory, a correction coefficient was identified according to the disparity between ocular estimates and volume estimates generated from field data, and then applied to all remaining grid points. Volume averaged 2.5 m3/ha (12.4% sample error using a 95% confidence interval). Using this method, biomass estimates can be extrapolated across landscapes in order to compare them. The permanent sampling network we established is relatively easy to maintain over time, and also provides a monitoring framework for other studies, including wildlife and rare plants. Repeat sampling (n = 12 points) in 2008 showed results similar to those of 2007, except for a decrease in the proportion of oaks in the 2.0 to 4.9 cm class.


Hamidan N.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Hamidan N.,Bournemouth University | Aloufi A.,University of Tabuk
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2014

This study documents the rediscovery of Acanthobrama hadiyahensis in Saudi Arabia and the first report since it was described in 1983. One female and one juvenile were collected from Qusaiba'a Dam, in the Al-Thamad area of Khaybar City. Threats facing this species are the same as those facing all other freshwater fishes in Arabia, mainly habitat loss and damming. © 2014 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.


Attum O.,Bellarmine University | Attum O.,Indiana University Southeast | Otoum M.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Amr Z.,Jordan University of Science and Technology | Tietjen B.,Bellarmine University
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2011

Wildlife translocations, the deliberate movement of animals from one part of their distribution to another, are increasingly used as a conservation method for the reestablishment of rare and endangered species. The objective of this study was to examine the movement patterns and macro- and microhabitat use of translocated and resident spur-thighed tortoises. This translocation was considered a soft-release as the tortoises were forced to be relatively inactive due to their being released at the beginning of the aestivation season. Our results suggest that forced aestivation soft-releases may succeed in reducing dispersal by forcing spur-thighed tortoises to spend time at the release site as the majority of translocated tortoises had similar activity range sizes and movement path tortuosity as resident tortoises. Spur-thighed tortoise conservation will require protecting habitat at multiple scales, with the remaining native forests in the country of Jordan being important to the spur-thighed tortoise during the activity and aestivation/hibernation seasons, as this macrohabitat was used significantly more than the human-modified habitats. Microhabitat structures such as leaf litter and availability of large stones may also be especially important in human-modified landscapes, as these microhabitats may help reduce the effects of habitat degradation. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Triepke F.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Demeo T.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Otoum M.A.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Al-Azzam L.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Natural Areas Journal | Year: 2012

The amount of forest cover in Jordan is estimated at about one percent of the country's land area. Land-use pressures and altered disturbance regimes have generated concern for the conservation of forests. In this context, Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) is a valuable forest type diminished from its historic extent. Accordingly, to gather information for conservation planning, we used systematic vegetation sampling to evaluate the composition and structure of Aleppo pine communities at the Dibeen Forest Reserve in Jordan. Permanent plot centers were established on a 200-m grid, and 72 of the grid points were selected randomly for an initial sampling of the reserve. An inventory of all live and dead trees was taken on circular plots. Due to their conservation value and growing pattern, the plot size for live Aleppo pine was enlarged to capture additional diameter samples. Relative species abundance, as determined by basal area estimates, ranged from < 1 m 2/ha for five of seven tree species captured in our inventory and up to 4.6 m 2/ha for P. halepensis. The majority of basal area (41.2%) occurred in diameter classes between 5 and 20 cm. Not counting recruitment trees under 5 cm in diameter, tree density ranged from 0.7 trees per hectare (TPH) for Azarole hawthorn (Crataegus azawlus L. Azarole.) to 504.5 TPH for Palestine oak (Quercus coccifera ssp. calliprinos Holmboe (syn. Quercus calliprinos Webb)). Given the importance of P. halepensis in determining the structure of Dibeen communities, basal area values were further stratified by diameter for the species, over 70% of which were concentrated in diameter classes between 20 and 55 cm. To assess succession and recruitment patterns in the pine, stem density was also stratified by diameter class and ranged from 68.9 TPH in the smallest class to 0.1 in the largest measured class, 140+ cm. The distribution of stem densities among diameter cohorts implies a selfsustaining population of P. halepensis at the reserve. Low recruitment of other seral species suggests a need to further monitor tree recruitment and consider conservation strategies.


Ochoa A.,University of Arizona | Wells S.A.,Arizona Center for Nature Conservation Phoenix Zoo | West G.,Arizona Center for Nature Conservation Phoenix Zoo | Al-Smadi M.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2016

The Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) historically ranged across the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries until its extirpation in 1972. In 1963–1964 a captive breeding program for this species was started at the Phoenix Zoo (PHX); it ultimately consisted of 11 animals that became known as the ‘World Herd’. In 1978–1979 a wild population was established at the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve (SWR), Jordan, with eight descendants from the World Herd and three individuals from Qatar. We described the mtDNA and nuclear genetic diversity and structure of PHX and SWR. We also determined the long-term demographic and genetic viability of these populations under different reciprocal translocation scenarios. PHX displayed a greater number of mtDNA haplotypes (n = 4) than SWR (n = 2). Additionally, PHX and SWR presented nuclear genetic diversities of (Formula presented.) = 2.88 vs. 2.75, (Formula presented.) = 0.469 vs. 0.387, and (Formula presented.) = 0.501 vs. 0.421, respectively. Although these populations showed no signs of inbreeding ((Formula presented.) ≈ 0), they were highly differentiated ((Formula presented.) = 0.580; P < 0.001). Migration between PHX and SWR (Nm = 1, 4, and 8 individuals/generation) increased their genetic diversity in the short-term and substantially reduced the probability of extinction in PHX during 25 generations. Under such scenarios, maximum genetic diversities were achieved in the first generations before the effects of genetic drift became predominant. Although captive populations can function as sources of genetic variation for reintroduction programs, we recommend promoting mutual and continuous gene flow with wild populations to ensure the long-term survival of this species. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht


Eljarah A.,Jordan University of Science and Technology | Al-Zghoul M.B.,Jordan University of Science and Technology | Al-Zghoul M.B.,King Faisal University | Jawasreh K.,Jordan University of Science and Technology | And 5 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2012

Reproductive tracts of four male Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) from Shaumari Nature Reserve in Jordan were examined to characterize their reproductive anatomy. Animals were allocated into two groups based on their age: Group 1 (n = 2, males were 12 and 14 mo old) and Group 2 (n = 2, males were 7 and 9 yrs old). Observations regarding the morphology, position and orientation of different reproductive organs were made. The external and internal genital organs of male oryx were similar to other domestic ruminant species with minor differences. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Khoury F.,University of Jordan | Boulad N.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Janaydeh M.,Majmaah University
Zoology in the Middle East | Year: 2012

Finsch's Wheatear, Oenathe finsehii, is a widespread winter visitor in Jordan, primarily in arid - semi arid hilly areas with a mean annual rainfall of 100-300 mm. The average territory size in winter varied among the different study areas from 1.6 to 3.4 ha. This variation was not related to productivity and food density, but may have been caused by differences in habitat structure and interspecific territoriality by the Mourning Wheatear, Oenanlhe lugens, which was present in half of the study areas. Territory size variations were not sex-related although females were apparently excluded from more productive habitats by dominant males. © Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg.


Hamidan N.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Hamidan N.,Bournemouth University | Britton J.R.,Bournemouth University
Environmental Biology of Fishes | Year: 2015

The life history traits of desert fishes indicate their resilience to environmental change and vulnerability to extirpation and extinction. Garra ghorensis is a small (<140 mm) riverine cyprinid fish endemic to the Southern Dead Sea area and is critically endangered through habitat loss and invasive species. Here, the reproductive ecology of three Jordanian populations of this species were assessed through the collection of monthly samples between February 2011 and January 2012 in a region where air temperatures ranged between below 0 °C and over 40 °C through the year. Samples contained fish up to 137 mm fork length, with most <100 mm. Fish matured at length below 40 mm and at ages <1 year. Except one population of female dominated, sex ratios were not significantly different from 1:1. Reproductive effort, as gonado-somatic index (IG), peaked in both sexes in May, indicating spawning commenced soon after, with gonad maturation occurring at mean air temperatures below 20 °C and spawning above 20 °C. Mean female IG by month suggested protracted spawning throughout the summer months. Both mean IG and fecundity varied between sites, with the highest values at the most disturbed site. In combination, these outputs suggest G. ghorensis has an opportunistic life history strategy with sufficiently plastic reproductive traits that enable adaptation to shifting conditions. These are likely to provide resilience to habitat alterations and suggest that the plasticity of their reproductive traits might be important in developing strategies to safeguard their populations in the face of continued habitat degradation. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Hamidan N.,Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature | Hamidan N.,Bournemouth University | Britton J.R.,Bournemouth University
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2015

Information on the life-history traits of threatened fishes can inform their conservation as they can indicate resilience to environmental change and vulnerability to extirpation and extinction. Garra ghorensis, a small (<140mm total length) riverine cyprinid fish, endemic to the southern Dead Sea area, is critically endangered through habitat loss and invasive species. There are, however, no data currently available on their life-history traits to inform their conservation management. The age structure and growth rate characteristics of three G. ghorensis populations in Jordan were assessed. Close to the sampling sites, minimum air temperatures approached 0°C in January but maxima exceeded 40°C in July and August. Samples collected monthly throughout 2011 contained fish with lengths between 23 and 137mm, with most less than 100mm. Monthly length distributions showed three distinct length modes in each population whose mean lengths increased throughout the warmer months. Growth check formation on scales was annual and their ageing revealed fish in each population present to at least 4years old, with a maximum of 6years. Comparison of these data with the length modes indicated that the modes corresponded to ages 0+, 1+ and >2years. Variability in length at age was apparent within sites, suggesting protracted spawning. Females were significantly larger than males. Growth rates and lifespans of G. ghorensis were highest at the most disturbed site (habitat loss and the presence of the invasive Oreochromis aureus). This growth plasticity in response to slower flows and deeper water suggests G. ghorensis has some resilience to environmental disturbances and suggests that their conservation management might not have to return their habitats to pristine conditions to avoid impacts on their lifespan and growth parameters. It also shows that further work is needed to identify the issues that are affecting the persistence of their populations. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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