Seven Arabian Leopard Cubs Born In AlUla Breeding Program

The Royal Commission for AlUla has announced that seven Arabian leopard cubs will be successfully born in 2023, marking a major advancement for conservation efforts.

Seven Arabian Leopard Cubs Born In AlUla Breeding Program

The Royal Commission for AlUla has announced that seven Arabian leopard cubs will be successfully born in 2023, marking a major advancement for conservation efforts.

The births mark a crucial milestone for the conservation breeding program, which aims to remove the breed’s “critically endangered” status as designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

All seven cubs were born at the Royal Commission for AlUla’s (RCU) Conservation Breeding Centre in Taif, Saudi Arabia. With the new additions, the center’s total population of Arabian leopards has almost doubled, increasing from 14 to 27 since the inception of the conservation project in 2020.

The long-term goal of the breeding program aligns with the comprehensive restoration of AlUla’s natural environment, contributing to the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. The initiative aims to reintroduce Arabian leopards into the wild, addressing the global concern of the breed’s diminishing population.

Estimates suggest that fewer than 200 wild leopards remain on the Arabian Peninsula, leading to its designation on the IUCN’s Red List. Recognizing the importance of preserving the species, the UN has designated February 10 as International Arabian Leopard Day.

Abdulaziz Alenzy, RCU Breeding Centre Manager, expressed delight at the birth of the seven cubs, highlighting the significance of the milestone in ongoing conservation efforts.

The breeding program, which welcomed three cubs last year, has made significant progress with the recent arrivals. Five of the cubs are being nurtured by their mothers without intervention, fostering a strong maternal bond.

The remaining two cubs, abandoned by their mother, are under the care of RCU staff. While natural in both captivity and the wild, the center staff is closely monitoring the mother’s behavior. Alenzy emphasized the importance of hand-rearing cubs, showcasing the dedication to saving each cub and reintegrating them into the leopard population.

Moving the cubs to a designated nursery reduces the risk of harm and accidents involving their mothers, significantly improving their chances of survival during the early stages of life. The hand-rearing process adheres to strict conservation protocols, ensuring the well-being and future integration of the Arabian leopard cubs.

This conservation success underscores the commitment to protecting endangered species and contributing to the broader goals of biodiversity preservation.