Feynan’s economy, founded on copper, long ago shifted to farming – specifically goat-herding. To the local Azazmeh bedouin, goats provide milk, cheese, yoghurt, jameed (a type of preserved dried yoghurt), hair for tent-weaving, rarely meat and above all cash from selling the male kids. Today the Azazmeh are participating in an RSCN scheme that is altering the rural economy to place greater emphasis on environmental protection. For years, goats have been overgrazing the land and decimating local flora, but rather than banning them within the Dana reserve area – which would merely foment ill-will and shift the problem elsewhere – the RSCN are investing in them, fattening the goats in large pens outside the reserve and training local women to produce new craft items out of goat leather; both projects mean that the goats sell for higher prices at market and that their owners can additionally raise the value of each animal by selling the hide. You can ask to visit the leather workshops at Feynan to see more. Crafts made from Feynan goat leather are used in the lodge and sold at RSCN nature shops around Jordan.

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