The growing demand on water consumption in the region has seen the natural inflow to the Dead Sea diminish rapidly over the past years. So much so, that there is a risk of the sea drying up altogether within the next 50 years. This would be a devastating loss, not only for tourism and the economy, but also for the loss of the Dead Sea’s unique properties, the surrounding environment, and its flora and fauna.
To combat this critical situation, plans are being made to transport water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The operation, known as ‘Peace Conduit’ – since it involves the cooperation of Jordan, Israel and Palestine – aims at bringing 1.8 billion cubic metres of water annually to the Dead Sea.
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is deeply involved in the protection of wildlife and habitats within the area and has received international acclaim for its pioneering work in developing nature-based businesses for local people.
The Mujib Biosphere Reserve is the lowest-altitude nature reserve in the world, with its spectacular array of scenery near the East coast of the Dead Sea. The reserve is located within the deep Wadi Mujib gorge which enters the Dead Sea at 410m below sea level. The Reserve extends to the Karak and Madaba mountains to the North and South, reaching 900m above sea level in some places. This 1,300m variation in elevation, combined with the valley’s year-round water flow from seven tributaries, means that the Wadi Mujib enjoys a magnificent biodiversity that is still being explored and documented today.
Over 420 species of plants, 102 species of permanent and migratory birds, and10 species of carnivore including the Red Fox, Blandford Fox, Hyena, Jackal, Wild Cat, Caracal, Badger, Mongoose, Wolf and Arabian Leopard have been recorded to date. Some of the remote mountain and valley areas are difficult to reach, offering a safe haven to various species of cats, goats and other mountain animals.
Mujib’s sandstone cliffs are an ideal habitat for one of the most beautiful mountain goats in the world, the Nubian Ibex. The natural Ibex herds have declined over the years due to over hunting, prompting Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature to establish a captive-breeding programme for the Ibex within the Mujib Biosphere Reserve.
Mujib is also home to carnivorous species such as the Caracal, a medium-sized cat distinguished by its black and white ear tufts. An agile and powerful hunter, the Caracal can be spotted in action in the rocky valley of Mujib, using its amazing jumping power to catch airborne prey