Endangered Arabian leopard found poisoned in Saudi Arabia
The Arabian leopard was found poisoned at Wadi Numan in Makkah
The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) has confirmed reports that an Arabian leopard was found poisoned in Makkah’s Wadi Numan area.
The head of the National Wildlife Research Center Dr. Ahmad Al-Bouq, said the leopard had apparently eaten the corpse of an animal that had been injected with poison.
Some citizens, he added, resort to such tactics to protect their sheep from wild dogs and other animals.
"Two specialized teams have been set up to search the area and investigate the death of the leopard and cameras will be placed around the area to see whether there are other Arabian leopards in the area," he said.
These animals are registered with the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species facing extinction.
"Using poison to kill wild animals is internationally known as the ‘Blind Killer’ because it does not differentiate between stray dogs and rare animals," he said.
He confirmed five Arabian leopards were killed in the same manner in Madinah, Taif, and southern provinces.
Al-Bouq stated the SWA has launched a program to conserve these animals at a cost of more than SR7 million.
The program has resulted in the birth of three cubs that are now almost 10 months old.
In addition, more than 70 cameras were placed in areas where Arabian leopards are believed to live.
He pointed out the center has been searching for the past 20 years for live sightings of the leopards.
Such sightings were made eight years ago on the Yemeni borders and in other areas inside the Kingdom.
This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Feb. 24, 2014.