Second annual Arabian Leopard Day recognizes these magnificent big cats

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Billboards in the UK and US raise awareness of this critically endangered species

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), established by royal decree to preserve and develop AlUla—a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia— has announced it will lead an international campaign in recognition of Arabian Leopard Day today. The initiative will raise awareness in the US, UK, and Arabia of the species’ status as Critically Endangered with aims to build support for actions to save the species.

Photo courtesy of Royal Commission for AlUla.

Photo courtesy of Royal Commission for AlUla.

"The Arabian Leopard is a formidable symbol of our aim to conserve and safeguard AlUla's natural environment. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the Arabian Leopard is Critically Endangered with threats to its natural habitat highlighting the pressing need to step up conservation efforts that are so vital to the species' long-term survival,” stated Stephen Browne, PhD, MSc, wildlife & natural heritage executive director at RCU, in an organizational release.1 “It is our ongoing commitment to mark Arabian Leopard Day and engage with activities to raise awareness of, and help to protect, these magnificent big cats."

According to the release, if the Arabian leopard population continues to decrease, the next stages on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are Extinct in the Wild and, lastly, Extinct. To draw attention to Arabian Leopard Day, beginning today, billboard projections will appear in various locations in London and New York.

For when the Arabian leopards do return to the wild, RCU has prepared by releasing native species of prey animals into extensive nature reserves, bolstered efforts to track and protect wild leopards, and regenerated natural areas managed by teams of RCU-led and trained experts with the mission to restore a lost yet essential balance to AlUla's delicate ecosystems. The return of the Arabian Leopard will be the last step to complete this "sensitive and complicated puzzle."1

There have been milestones throughout the journey. RCU's Arabian Leopard Breeding Program has welcomed the births of 4 healthy cubs since April 2021, in line with its goal of increasing the population in captivity. The naming of a cub born in 2022 as Amal – 'hope' in Arabic – represents the rising hopes to protect the future of the species. Learn more about Arabian Leopard Day at https://www.rcu.gov.sa/en/ArabianLeopard.

Reference

Arabian Leopard Day lights up the UK & US to build support for saving a critically endangered species. News release. Royal Commission for AlUla.February 10, 2023. Accessed February 10, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/royal-commission-for-alula-saudi-arabia-arabian-leopard-day-lights-up-the-uk--us-to-build-support-for-saving-a-critically-endangered-species-301743037.html

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