Country for PR: United Kingdom
Contributor: PR Newswire Europe
Friday, February 11 2022 - 02:08
Inaugural Arabian Leopard Day kicks off across the region and shines a spotlight on saving the species
ALULA, Saudi Arabia, February 10, 2022 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/--

- Being held on February 10, the first-ever Arabian Leopard Day focuses 
international attention on important and ongoing conservation efforts in AlUla 
and beyond

- MoU signed by His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdulla bin Mohammad bin Farhan 
Al-Saud, Governor of AlUla and Minister of Culture, and Her Royal Highness 
Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, KSA Ambassador to 
the US and Founder of Catmosphere

- Plans for protection and conservation of iconic big cat species are fully 
aligned with Royal Commission for AlUla's environmental and sustainability 
ambitions for north-west Arabia

Iconic buildings and historic landmarks in Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE will 
be proudly lit up this evening to mark the first-ever Arabian Leopard Day. 
Stunning illuminations, inspired by the majestic but Critically Endangered big 
cats, will be simultaneously projected on Riyadh's King Faisal Foundation 
building, Jeddah's King Road Tower, Adeer Tower in Al Khobar, Elephant Rock in 
AlUla, plus Burj Khalifa and KSA's Expo 2020 pavilion in Dubai as well as a 
highly prominent electronic billboard on Sultan Qaboos University Road in 
Muscat, Oman. 

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click:

Across the region Arabian Leopard Day is also being marked with classroom 
education initiatives as well as social media outreach throughout the day with 
the hashtag #ArabianLeopardDay. And in a public show of support, many 
government entities across Saudi Arabia will incorporate the official Arabian 
Leopard Day logo on their websites and social media today. 

In an important step forward, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) today signed 
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Catmosphere foundation to 
strengthen regional efforts to protect the future of the Arabian Leopard. RCU 
and Catmosphere will work closely together on a series of sustainable and 
innovative events, campaigns, and outreach initiatives research with the shared 
goal of safeguarding the future of the Arabian Leopard, an animal of national 
pride in Saudi Arabia and around the region.

The inaugural Arabian Leopard Day highlights the desperate plight of the 
species, which once freely roamed the Arabian Peninsula but is now restricted 
to small, scattered populations in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. 
His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdulla bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al-Saud, Governor 
of AlUla and Minister of Culture, said: "The signing of the MoU supports RCU's 
Arabian Leopard conservation programme, which is at the heart of extensive 
sustainable development plans for the wider AlUla region. This agreement also 
significantly strengthens existing partnerships with entities concerned with 
the conservation of natural fauna and flora, including the International Union 
for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)." 

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia's 
Ambassador to the United States and founder of Catmosphere, said: "The signing 
of this new MoU supports Catmosphere's mission to secure a future for Big Cats, 
including the Arabian Leopard. It builds momentum around regional conservation 
efforts with a focus on supporting RCU as it strives to achieve its 
far-reaching ambitions to reintroduce the species to the wild." 

Amr AlMadani, CEO, Royal Commission for AlUla, said: "The Arabian Leopard is a 
powerful symbol of RCU's aim to conserve and safeguard AlUla's natural 
environment through far-reaching conservation efforts designed to protect the 
natural flora and fauna of this incredible part of north-west Arabia. It is a 
sad reality that the Arabian Leopard is Critically Endangered. Ongoing threats 
to its natural habitat highlight the pressing need to step up conservation 
efforts that are so vital to the species' long-term survival. We really want 
people to mark Arabian Leopard Day and engage with activities to raise 
awareness of, and help to protect, these majestic big cats."

The Arabian Leopard is emblematic of Saudi Arabia and RCU's extensive 
environmental sustainability ambitions. The species occupies a unique place in 
the collective consciousness and imagination of the region; images of the big 
cat have been found in ancient rock art, have inspired folk tales, and are even 
used in modern everyday expressions. 

Numbering fewer than 200 in the wild, the Arabian Leopard is categorised as 
Critically Endangered by the IUCN and is considered to be at an extremely high 
risk of extinction in the wild. 

Last year's birth of a female cub at the Arabian Leopard Breeding Centre in 
Taif, Saudi Arabia, highlighted the great potential for reintroducing the 
species into the wilderness and mountains around AlUla and beyond. However, 
there remains a long and difficult road ahead with efforts ongoing to establish 
a protected habitat to restore the population.

RCU, which is regenerating a 22,561km2 area of north-west Saudi Arabia as a 
global destination for natural and cultural heritage, has committed USD 25 
million to the Arabian Leopard Fund, an independent organisation created to 
implement conservation projects across the leopard's home range. RCU has 
designated five nature reserves covering 12,500km2 and will be working with 
leading experts such as Panthera and IUCN to activate, conserve and safeguard 
these protected areas with a vision that leopards might someday roam free 
Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers has designated Arabian Leopard Day to take 
place on 10 February each year.

Note to editors: 
It is always AlUla.

We will be providing photographs this evening of the landmarks featuring 
Arabian Leopard Day imagery. The landmarks will light up simultaneously at 
7.10pm KSA. Further, please find collateral including a toolkit, and FAQ here 

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.

Media contact: 
Jinith Joy 
Consultant, Hill+Knowlton Strategies 
00971 50 7219369

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SOURCE: Royal Commission for AlUla