Diversity of Animals and Wildlife in Yemen [Archives:2004/726/Culture]

April 5 2004

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
Biological diversity refers to the many kinds of species living in land and marine ecosystems. It is known as the various natural operations of which living things are integral parts. Human's daily life depends on this biological diversity, through having healthy environments and a number of natural resources used as sources of food, medicine and important products.
In order to protect this vital diversification, to maintain sustainable uses of the natural resources and to share fairly and justly the consequent benefits of using genetic resources the International Biological Agreement, in its final form reached in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 1992, became effective as of 29 December 1993. The process to the agreement had begun in July 1992, during the United Nations Development and Environment Conference (Earth Summit), held in Rio DeJaneiro. The Republic of Yemen subscribed to the agreement and became the 118th state to join the agreement.
Yemen possesses a unique environmental system consisting of many environments and it is considered to be of the richest countries of the western region in terms of biological diversity.
The different environmental systems, due to the special geographical location of the country, provide Yemen many with many natural environments and a high degree of biological diversity. There are more than 3000 kinds of heterogeneous plants in Yemen. According to a recent study, there are 850 different plants in Socotra Island alone, of which 293 settled plants are known. Many of these plants withstand severe climactic changes whilst settled on mountainous regions.
The location of Yemen at the junction of three vital regions and the large number of environments, from high mountains, valleys, deserts, swamps, oases and coastal regions to volcanic islands, are factors contributing to Yemen's rich animal diversity. There are 71 kinds of mammals descending from 8 different animal species and five kinds of deer registered in Yemen. About 370-400 kinds of birds have been spotted in Yemen, whether nesting or resting during birds' migration in different seasons.
Few studies have been conducted on amphibians and reptiles. 117 and 109 amphibians and reptiles respectively have been spotted in Yemen nevertheless.
Yemen has now six natural protected areas with high significant characteristics for tourism. They are Ottemah (central), Hawf Al-Sahel (near Oman), Bara Mountain, Beer Ali, the Sharmah coastal region (west) and the Socotra Archipelago.