Saudi Arabia designated the 10th day of February in each year as a day for the Arabian Leopard, the Council of Ministers announced on Tuesday.
The move comes to help spread awareness of preserving the Arabian tiger from extinction, and to define the goals of the Global Arabian Leopard Fund.
In December 2020, Minister of Culture Prince Badr Bin Farhan, governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), said: "With the guidance and support of the Crown Prince, the Royal Commission for AlUla Governorate established the Global Fund to Protect the Arabian Leopard from Extinction in Sharaan Protectorate in AlUla.
According to RCU, the mission of the Global Fund for the Conservation of the Arabian Leopard is “to ensure a viable and sustainably managed population of the Arabian Leopard, its wild prey and natural habitats in coexistence with local communities”.
“No accurate count of the total number of Arabian Leopards still surviving in the wild exists, but the total adult population is probably lower than 250, and perhaps even as low as 100.
“These remnant populations are small, isolated, fragmented and under threat. In Saudi Arabia there are probably fewer than 50 adult Arabian Leopards remaining, and it is possible that no breeding nucleus persists.”
Classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Arabian Leopard is a critically endangered species, and as quoted by the fund “No accurate count of the total number of Arabian Leopards still surviving in the wild exists, but the total adult population is probably lower than 250, and perhaps even as low as 100.
These remnant populations are small, isolated, fragmented and under threat. In Saudi Arabia there are probably fewer than 50 adult Arabian Leopards remaining, and it is possible that no breeding nucleus persists as a result of the loss of their natural habitat and poaching over the years.”
RCU has developed a strategy to conserve the Arabian Leopard, which includes a variety of initiatives and expansion of the breeding program through the opening of the Arabian Leopard Fund.
Additionally, it also plans to strengthen its partnerships with institutions concerned with the conservation of natural resources, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Panthera (IUCN), and partnering with the Saudi Green initiative, to reach 80% of AlUla's area as natural reserves.
Sharaan Reserve will contribute to restoring and preserving the ecosystem, in particular wild plants and animals on an area of 1,560 square kilometers.
The initiatives to protect the Arabian Leopard included the resettlement of wild species such as the Nubian ibex and Mountain gazelle, in addition to training several wild roamers in AlUla to preserve nature reserves.
On a brighter note, The Royal Commission for AlUla Governorate had announced, in September 2021, the birth of a new female Arabian Leopard, which is a silver lining and positive indication towards preventing the extinction of the endangered species and improving the rehabilitating ecosystems.