Surrounded by woodlands of evergreen oak (Quercus calliprinos), Aleppo pine trees, wild pistachio (Pistacia palaestina), carob (Ceratonia siliqua) and wild strawberry trees (Arbutus andrachne), this is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Jordan. It lies in what is regarded as the highlands. Run by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the reserve was founded in the Ajlun village of Umm al-Yanabee in 1987 with the mandate to help protect the evergreen oak forest ecosystem.
Here you may spot the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) or the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena). There are wild boars and foxes, along with the rare and dainty roe deer, which became extinct in the wild in 1988 through excessive hunting. The RSCN launched a captive breeding programme to reintroduce the roe deer and it is now thriving in the reserve. It is hoped the deer will be returned to the wild in the future when their numbers have reached sustainable levels. The reserve is a woodland birdwatcher’s paradise. You may see jays, which feed on the acorns dropped by the ancient oak trees.