Published February 7, 2014 for Gulftoday.ae
United Arab Emirates (UAE) –
SHARJAH: His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, announced the launch of an initiative for conservation of the Arabian Leopard in the Arabian Peninsula on Thursday.
Sheikh Sultan, who launched the initiative during the 15th annual Conservation Workshop for the Biodiversity of Arabia, said the initiative invites researchers, stakeholders and international organisations to protect the Arabian Leopard in its few natural habitats in preparation to release it again in its Arabian wildlife. The aim of the meeting is to review biodiversity conservation progress and needs throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Sheikh Sultan added that the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife (BCEAW) under the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Government of Sharjah, is conducting massive programmes and activities to educate students of schools and universities and families on the importance of protecting these ecosystems.
By this initiative, Sharjah has accomplished a major milestone towards breeding and conservation of wildlife in Arabia. It also supported regional and international efforts in safeguarding wildlife and biodiversity.
The Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) is a leopard subspecies native to the Arabian Peninsula and classified as Critically Endangered by IUCN since 1996. Fewer than 200 wild individuals were estimated to be alive in 2006. The population comprises fewer than 250 mature individuals and is severely fragmented. Subpopulations are isolated and not larger than 50 mature individuals. The population is thought to be continuously in decline.
Photo : courtesy of FPALY