- Arabian Leopard Day 2023 is highlighted by international campaign in the UK and US to raise awareness of a species at risk of extinction
- Billboard projection appeared overnight in London and New York to raise awareness of Arabian Leopard Day 2023
- IUCN rates the Arabian Leopard as Critically Endangered in the wild, with fewer than 200 roaming free
- A reason for hope: birth of four leopard cubs at a breeding centre in past 22 months
ALULA, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The second annual Arabian Leopard Day on February 10 will feature a strong international component, highlighted by an international campaign to spread international awareness of the species’ plight in the UK, US and Saudi Arabia.
From today, London will see billboard projections on Piccadilly, High Street Kensington, Canary Wharf, Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City, Skyline – Westfield Stratford City, The Two Towers, Canary Wharf while New Yorkers will see NASDAQ – to mark Arabian Leopard Day.
The campaign is spearheaded by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), which is comprehensively regenerating a vast swathe of north-west Arabia as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.
RCU and its conservation partners believe that by raising global awareness on Arabian Leopard Day, Feb 10, they can build support for actions to save the species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ranks the Arabian Leopard as Critically Endangered in the wild, a level of risk more severe than Vulnerable or Endangered. If the population continues to decline, the next stages on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are Extinct in the Wild and, lastly, Extinct.
Dr Stephen Browne, Wildlife & Natural Heritage Executive Director at RCU, said: “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. 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.”
To prepare for the eventual return of Arabian Leopards to the wild, RCU has released native species of prey animals into vast nature reserves, increased efforts to track and protect wild leopards, and regenerated natural areas managed by teams of RCU-led and trained experts with the goal of restoring a lost yet essential balance to AlUla’s delicate ecosystems. The return of the Arabian Leopard will be the final piece of a sensitive and complicated puzzle.
And there have been successes along the way: RCU’s Arabian Leopard Breeding Programme has welcomed the births of four healthy cubs since April 2021, a major milestone and a welcome contribution to the goal of boosting the population in captivity. The naming of a cub born in 2022 as Amal – ‘hope’ in Arabic – symbolises the rising hopes to protect the future of the species. For more information on the day, visit https://www.rcu.gov.sa/en/ArabianLeopard
Noted for editors:
It is always AlUla / not Al-Ula
About the Royal Commission for AlUla
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage while establishing AlUla as a desirable location to live, work, and visit. This encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, reflecting a commitment to meeting the economic diversification, local community empowerment, and heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme.
SOURCE Royal Commission for AlUla