The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) announced on Tuesday the birth of two Arabian leopard cubs, in a milestone moment for RCU's conservation captive-breeding program.
“The cubs, now part of our pride of Arabian Leopards, were born in a captive-breeding programme at the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center in Taif, Saudi Arabia,” the commission said in a statement.
The leopard's habitat, which formerly spanned the Arabian Peninsula and reached into the Levant, is now restricted to three countries: Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. While species numbers are estimated as fewer than 200 in the wild after centuries of habitat loss and poaching.
Through RCU's captive breeding program and conservation initiatives, which aim to restore the population through the breeding programme and prepare a suitable habitat in which the leopards can thrive, the species will eventually be reintroduced into the wilderness in the mountains of AlUla.