Saudis celebrates birth of endangered Arabian Leopard cub

Saudis celebrates birth of endangered Arabian Leopard cub
The birth of a female Arabian leopard cub has been praised as a critical step in saving the critically endangered species.
2 min read
29 September, 2021
Only 200 Arabian leopards exist in the wild at present [Getty-file photo]

The birth of a rare Arabian Leopard in Saudi Arabia has been lauded on social media as an important step toward saving the critically endangered species. 

Born on 23 April, the female cub will be protected by the Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU), which aims to breed the species at a centre in Taif, Saudi Arabia, then return the animals to their original habitat. 

With only 200 Arabian leopards left in the wild, the birth was celebrated by animal lovers on social media using the hashtag #MeetOurCub. 

"We believe that saving endangered species such as the Arabian Leopard is critical to the protection of our planet and the natural balance of our ecosystem," said Doctor Ahmed Almalki, nature reserves director at RCU. 

The ultimate aim of their Arabian Leopard Programme is to get the species taken off the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s endangered red list, he said. 

"We understand this will take a lot of effort and it will require time," said Doctor Almalki.  

The first 12 weeks are a "critical time" for the new cub according to the centre's veterinary doctor Abdulaziz Al-Anzi. 

After a full medical examination, which can take place once a leopard is more than 13 weeks old, Al-Anzi said that the "cub's general health was excellent and her mother's as well". 

When the Royal Commission announced the birth on social media, Catmosphere, an organisation based in Virginia USA, said it shows the centre "is playing a key role in the quest to save the Arabian Leopard". 

PantheraCats, based in New York, also responded joyfully to the news and said: This cub represents a step forward for the species. #MeetOurCub"