The Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary is a great tourist attraction in Bahrain which houses many Arabian and Asiatic animals that are well-protected and can be observed by the general public. Many of the animals found in the sanctuary are endangered or otherwise threatened in the wild. In fact, one particular animal is already extinct in the wild. The wildlife sanctuary is situated in Sakhir, a desert expanse which is currently seeing a lot of development for attractions. Interestingly, it is quite amusing to see a wildlife reserve in the midst of a desert. Even more amazing is that the sanctuary serves much like an oasis where animals are kept safe and are provided with a good habitat.
The eight square kilometer sanctuary was established in 1976 with goals that revolve around scientific research, education, tourism, and conservation. The sanctuary is one of only six protected areas in Bahrain and is the only protected sanctuary on land. The reserve is a great attraction for animal lovers and conservationists. Some species including the Scimitar Horned Oryx and the Arabian Oryx, may no longer be seen in the wild which makes a visit to the reserve all the more exciting. Not only does the park showcase a variety of animals from South Asia but plants unique to the Arab region as well.
There are about 100,000 plants and trees within the reserve alongside the 50 or more species of larger mammalian animals. The reserve also has an aviary that houses more than 90 species of birds from all over the Arab nations and beyond. Species of animals that can be found within the park’s enclosures include Saluki dogs, Impala, Saluki Dogs, Fallow Deer, desert Hares and Chapman’s Zebra, Dama gazelle, Nubian ibex, Barbary Sheep and Asiatic Onager. There are a few more specimens found in the sanctuary that are worth noting due to their endangered and rare status in the wild. This includes the Addax, Arabian Oryx and the Scimitar Horned Oryx
One of the major contributions the wildlife reserve has provided the natural world is a captive breeding program for the endangered and extinct species that they are currently taking care of. The captive breeding program boasts of a 400 hectare area where animals are allowed to roam free but are still protected from outside forces. With such wide open spaces, animals are seemingly allowed to be in their natural habitat. Public access is also restricted unless permission is granted by the reserve.
With over two hundred different species in the Al Areen Wildlife Park, the park is also a prime destination for anyone who wants to see the indigenous flora and fauna in the region. The sanctuary can be easily accessed from Manama as it takes around 40 minutes travel time by bus. Sakhir, where the sanctuary is located, is a growing region for tourism which is also the same location where the Bahrain International Speedway is found.
The Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary is truly a great attraction in Bahrain. In a country mainly surrounded by bodies of water, it is amazing to find such splendid animals within its walls that convincingly separate the oasis from the desert.