Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for al-Ula (RCU) commits to investing $20 million over 10 years in order to aid world conservation of the leopard and revitalize the population of the Arabian leopard, which is indigenous to al-Ula.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan al-Saud, the Saudi Minster of Culture and Governor of RCU, has signed an agreement on Friday with Dr. Thomas Kaplan, the Chairman of Panthera, to support important regional and international conservation initiatives, according to a press release by Panthera.
Prince Badr said the partnership between RCU and Panthera comes as part of efforts to prevent “the extinction of the Arabian Leopard, and protecting the Kingdom’s history and heritage,” in a tweet.
Our partnership with @PantheraCats comes as part of the @RCU_SA’s efforts in preventing the extinction of the Arabian Leopard, and protecting the Kingdom's history and heritage. pic.twitter.com/5c5zb1EsB8— بدر بن عبدالله بن فرحان آل سعود (@BadrFAlSaud) June 7, 2019
Panthera describes itself as an organization devoted to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems.
The joint initiatives between RCU and Panthera include “the establishment of a global fund focused on the protection and enhancement of remaining wild populations, captive breeding programs, international collaborations, community-based conservation projects, and scientific research to support the future of this rare species,” according to the press release.
“The signing of the agreement is a major milestone in our shared ambitions to reintroduce the Arabian leopard population in the region and join global partners to support the preservation of these wild cat populations worldwide,” Prince Badr said.
“It is our duty to protect, conserve, and build the population numbers to preserve the species from becoming a footnote of history,” the prince added.
Earlier in February, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched mega tourism projects in the ancient desert city of al-Ula, which is located 300km north of Medina in northwestern Saudi Arabia.
During the launch, RCU announced its commitment to protecting the Arabian leopard through the creation of The Global Fund for the Arabian Leopard, which is the largest conservation fund for this endangered species.
Al-Ula is notable for its natural heritage and rich history, and is home to a series of important historical and archaeological sites such as Mada’in Saleh and al-Khuraybah.