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In one of the world's oldest known literary adventures, the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, circa 2000 B.C., the royal protagonist Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, searches for the God Ut-Napishtim said to know the secret of immortality. The quest takes Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu (a wild man reared among gazelles) to Dilmun, reputedly the original paradise (a rival claim with Yemen's Socotra) and the subsequent Cradle of Civilization. Dilmun was located in what is today's Kingdom of Bahrain, an archipelago comprising 33 islands and just over 710 square kilometers off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia in the Gulf of Salwa. Its capital is Manama. The country is populated by fewer than 750,000 residents.

This small country hosts over 300 bird species, 18 mammals, 250 plant species numerous reptiles, a rich, though largely undocumented invertebrate world and tremendous marine biodiversity. In the last decade, conservation biology has taken hold of the country's consciousness, in good part due to His Majesty Sheik Hama bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain. At the invitation of the Vice President and General Director of the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife, Dr. Ismaeil M Al Madani, and his staff, DSF was able to document for Sanctuary one of three protected areas in the country, Al-Areen, a region of native habitat set aside for protection in 1975. Today, it is home to numerous species threatened in the Gulf, including Reem Gazelle, Nubian Ibex, Sable Antelope, Beisa Oryx, the incredibly rare Scimitar-Horned Oryx, Wild Goat, Barbary Sheep, Asiatic Onager, Defassa Waterbuck, Addax and Lesser Kudu.

Al Areen Wildlife Park