SAUDI ARABIA

Wildlife conservation program successful, says official

April 04, 2018
The Arabian Oryx in a wildlife reserve in Taif. The Kingdom's programs to protect the endangered animals has been successful but expensive, officials say.
The Arabian Oryx in a wildlife reserve in Taif. The Kingdom's programs to protect the endangered animals has been successful but expensive, officials say.

Saudi Gazette report

DAMMAM
— The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) has been managing 15 certified conservation sites with a total area of 87,000 square kilometers.

Ahmed Al-Boug, director general of Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research in Taif and official spokesperson of SWA, has explained that seven types of endangered animals were resettled in seven wildlife reserves. He said there are two research and breeding centers, one in Taif and the other in Riyadh.

Al-Boug said the cost of caring for endangered animals ranges from SR7 million to SR10 million a year. "It may be expensive, but it is important to ensure the continued breeding of these animals," Al-Watan newspaper quoted him as saying.

With regard to the efforts of SWA in the resettlement programs for endangered as well as endemic animals in Saudi Arabia, Al-Boug said its two specialized centers carry out such tasks.

Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research in Taif, which started operations in early 1986, is working on multiplying and resettling five types of animals, including the Arabian Oryx. "The breeding program was successful and was expanded to two protected areas," he added.

The Asian houbara is another endangered species the program has been focusing on, he said, adding that the program was also so successful that between 200 and 250 birds are released in the "Mahazah Al-Sayad" conservation area each year.

Al-Boug explained that the center succeeded in breeding red-necked ostriches and resettling them in the Mahazah Al-Sayad reserve.

The Arabian tiger was first brought to Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center in 2007 and currently their number stands at 13, but the goal is to raise it to 30, he added.

Al-Boug pointed out that the King Khalid Center for Wildlife Research at Al-Thumamah is currently focusing on breeding programs of two types of local antelope: Al-Reem and the Arabian deer.

"Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research spends between SR7 million and SR10 million annually. The animals need constant medical and other care, which makes the program quite expensive," said Al-Boug.


April 04, 2018
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