The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature has been working since its establishment in 1966 on the protection of natural resources from regression and the environment from pollution. Over seven natural reserves have been established throughout the past 30 years, They are:
• Shomari reserve
• Azraq reserve
• Zoubia reserve
• Wadi Moujeb reserve
• Wadi Rum reserve
• Dana reserve
• Aqaba marine reserve.
Public awareness programs such as Afforestation and the control of hunting are made to ensure the protection of Jordan's most valuable natural resources.
Jordan was the first country in the Middle East to adopt a national environmental strategy, with help from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A national strategy was completed in 1992 presenting specific recommendations for Jordan on a sectorial basis, addressing the areas of agriculture, air pollution, coastal and marine life, antiquities and cultural resources, mineral resources, wildlife and habitat preservation, population and settlement patterns, and water resources.
The Ministry of Agriculture has a diverse set of responsibilities related to environmental conservation and health. The Ministry also manages 18 grazing reserves, while delegating responsibility for 7 wildlife refuges to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). In addition to protecting wildlife habitats and populations, the RSCN has also conducted extensive ecological studies in accordance with the latter mentioned recommendations from the (ICUN). These were presented as a set of guidelines for the establishment of 12 natural reserves representing 16 wildlife habitats.
The Arabian Oryx, a large straight-horned antelope which had been extinct in Jordan since the 1920's, and in the Middle East since 1972, was reintroduced here in 1978. The breeding program has been a success, and after introducing eight heads to Jordan in 1978, the Kingdom now hosts 170 Arabian Oryx. Over 130 of these live in the Shumari Reserve, together with other endangered animal species. A large number of migratory and resident birds rest at Shumary at different times throughout the year, while the park hosts a resident Ostrich population on a permanent basis.
Azraq Wetland Reserve
The Azraq Wetland Reserve is home to over 350 species of birds, half of which are migrant and stop in the reserve during their annual trip between Europe and Africa. Indeed, Jordan's Department of Environment cites the park as "of international importance for migratory birds". This wetlands area is rich in animal and plant life and is semi-covered by aquatic plants such as typha and tamarix. Wolves, red foxes, striped hyenas, Asiatic jackals and several species of insects and reptiles, including five very poisonous snakes, live in the area.
Wadi Al-Mujeb Reserve
Several endangered species of fauna inhabit the area, as do ibex, Arabian gazelles, leopards, foxes, wild boar and a variety of fish and birds.
D'ana was founded in 1990, providing a rugged wild life reserve in which numbers of specific species would be protected. Among the reserve's most important fauna are ibex, mountain gazelle, red fox, badger, wolf and jackal. The reserve is also important for bird-life, as it has a wide variety of tree cover. The illustrious D'ana project was launched to revitalize the natural habitat and foster the reserve's numbers of wildlife. D'ana is a wildlife reserve with a difference in that man has resided there for 6,000 years. Evidence of Paleolithic, Edomite, Nabatean and Roman occupation has been found. It is hoped that the small village of D'ana can be kept uncluttered by modern gadgets.
Wadi Rum Reserve
The RSCN is working to conserve the indigenous wildlife, including a herd of Arabian Oryx and a variety of plant species, some of which are rare, as well as archeological relics and cave paintings which are over 8,000 years old.
Foxes and hedge hogs are some of the species protected at Zubia. The roe deer was recently reintroduced to its original habitat at Zubia, and similar plans are in the works for the Persian Fallon Deer, a rare species which inhibited Zubia over 110 years ago.
Aqaba Marine Reserve
The Gulf of Aqaba is home to 268 known species of Fish and 127 types of Coral. In comparison, the state of Hawaii's coastal waters contain 45 varieties of Coral, while Bermuda hosts some 15 types.
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