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Saudi Arabia: two Arabian leopard cubs were born in the kingdom

Since 2008, the Arabian leopard has been considered as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In practice, this corresponds to the last stage of classification before a species goes extinct. This goes to show the urgency inherent in conservation projects such as the one set up by Saudi Arabia. It also helps in measuring the joy of hearing the happy news: two baby leopards have recently been born, joining the ranks of these very rare felines.

Today, it is estimated that less than 50 leopards of Arabia live freely in the kingdom, 200 in all… It is from this premise that the initiatives to protect the species currently underway, which have just resulted in the birth of two babies, started. 

If this event is a small consecration in itself – and the great causes are made up of small victories – it is above all part of long-term work. The ultimate objective is to reintroduce specimens into the AlUla region, where they will be able to live freely, protected, after having taught them how to survive in the wilderness.  

Work on the ecosystem 

In order to achieve this objective, it is necessary to recreate an appropriate environment in which reintroduced specimens can flourish. This project includes a “revitalization” of the environment as well as awareness-raising campaigns among the population, particularly on soil treatment. In this context, several partnerships have been established with international organizations working for the conservation of species, such as Panthera, in order to acquire good practices and benefit from cutting-edge scientific expertise on the theme of conservation

 

A symbolic animal 

The Arabian leopard (the smallest of all the big cat subspecies) is an integral part of the local culture. This is one of the reasons why its breeding and its reintroduction (in the long term) have been initiated. For example, two breeding programs are underway in the region, one in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Taif, in Saudi Arabia. They are now home to 16 leopards, including these 2 babies, born on April 22nd. Other centers are expected to emerge soon, directly in the AlUla region.