Birth of rare Arabian leopard marks milestone in saving critically endangered species


Its species number less than 200 in the wild after centuries of habitat loss and poaching. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the species to be “critically endangered”, which means it is considered to face an extremely high risk of extinction upon arrival. wild state.

The habitat of the leopard, which once extended over the Arabian Peninsula and reached the Levant, is now limited to three countries: Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. The breeding center is operated by RCU, the agency regenerating a 22,561 km strip to the northwest Saudi Arabia as a global destination for natural and cultural heritage.

The motivation in Arabia to save the leopard is strong. To the locals, the Arabian leopard – known in Arabic as a Nimr Al “Arabic – has long represented beauty, tranquility, physical strength, fearlessness and freedom. The animal has occupied a special place in the imagination for millennia and can be found in ancient rock art, stories and even everyday expressions.

For this reason, the birth of the little one represents a gain for the Saudi cultural heritage as well as the natural heritage.

The species will eventually be reintroduced to the AlUla mountain wilderness, restoring the population through the breeding program and preparing a suitable habitat in which leopards can thrive. The campaign includes the following initiatives:

  • Extension of the captive breeding program with the opening of a state-of-the-art breeding center which will open in early 2024 as part of the Sharaan nature reserve, AlUla.
  • Creation of the Arabian Leopard Fund, to which RCU allocated $ 25 million.
  • Extension of partnerships with relevant conservation entities such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Panthera.
  • Conversion of 80% of the AlUla project land to nature reserves, in accordance with the Saudi Green Initiative. The Sharaan Nature Reserve, for example, will restore and conserve the ecosystem, including native flora and fauna, over 1,560 square kilometers.
  • Reintroduction of prey species such as the Nubian ibex and Idmi gazelles.
  • Training of AlUla residents as forest guards to safeguard the reserves.

Dr. Ahmed Almalki, Director of Nature Reserves, said: “This birth is important because it is one more step towards the rebirth of the Arabian leopard. We believe that saving endangered species such as the Arabian leopard is essential for the protection of our planet and the natural balance of our ecosystem. . Our goal at RCU is nothing less than restoring the power of balance in nature. “

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About AlUla

Located 1,100 km from Riyadh to the northwest Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place with an extraordinary natural and human heritage. The vast area, covering 22,561 km², includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years.

The most famous and recognized site of AlUla is Hegra, that of Saudi Arabia first UNESCO World Heritage Site. An ancient city of 52 hectares, Hegra was the main southern city of the Nabataean kingdom and includes nearly 100 well-preserved tombs with elaborate facades carved out of sandstone outcrops. Current research suggests that Hegra was the Romans’ southernmost outpost after conquering the Nabataeans in 106 CE.

In addition to Hegra, AlUla is home to a series of fascinating historical and archaeological sites such as: an old town surrounded by an ancient oasis; Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan kingdoms, which is considered one of the most developed cities of the 1st millennium BC in the Arabian Peninsula; thousands of ancient rock art sites and inscriptions at Jabal Ikmah; and the Hijaz stations.

Note to editors

It’s still AlUla / not Al-Ula.

About the Royal Commission for AlUla

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by Royal Decree in july 2017 preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural importance in the north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan describes a responsible, sustainable and sensitive approach to urban and economic development, which preserves the region’s natural and historical heritage, while making AlUla a desirable place to live, work and visit. This encompasses a wide range of initiatives in the fields of archeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts, reflecting a commitment to address the priorities of economic diversification, empowerment of local communities and preservation of the heritage of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 program.

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SOURCE The Royal Commission for AlUla

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