Souq Okaz visitors are introduced to Saudi wildlife

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Camel riders stage a spectacular performance at the Souk Okaz Festival in Taif. SPA
Updated 02 July 2018
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Souq Okaz visitors are introduced to Saudi wildlife

  • The number of ostriches has grown inside reserves, owing to the improved environmental and climatic conditions as well as the management of wild ostrich groups
  • The Arabian leopard, the most common wildcat species still spread in mountainous areas, was also featured alongside several endangered Accipitriformes

JEDDAH: The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) has offered visitors to the 12th Souq Okaz festival the opportunity to be introduced to the Kingdom’s diverse wildlife and the resettlement of endangered species in reserves.
SWA has turned an area of the festival’s grounds into a mini-reserve for the Arabian oryx, which can survive the driest climates and most arid regions in the Arabian peninsula, explaining how it can be saved from extinction using the captive-reproduction method before resettling the species in its natural habitat.
The Arabian oryx featured at Souq Okaz can adapt well to hot climates found in deserts, semi-deserts, dry-grass plains and meadows, and areas of rocky slopes.
The white, wide-eyed animal is considered a bovid and a desert antelope.
In the mini-reserve, there is also an ostrich. The number of ostriches has grown inside reserves, owing to the improved environmental and climatic conditions as well as the management of wild ostrich groups.
Through photos and documentary films, SWA has also introduced the festival’s visitors to other animal species it seeks to save, including the houbara bustard, which lives in open arid areas. Overhunting causes the species’ declining number and the worsening of its natural habitat is due to overgrazing and agricultural development.
The Arabian leopard, the most common wildcat species still spread in mountainous areas, was also featured alongside several endangered Accipitriformes.
SWA has provided its corner’s visitors with information on the first studies conducted in several reserves through monitoring vegetation, which has grown steadily, encouraging SWA to move forward with its resettlement program, in addition to providing information on protecting animals inside reserves by surrounding them with fences to monitor their adaptation before releasing them into the wild.
SWA’s participation in this year’s Souq Okaz festival is in line with the recently issued royal order to establish a council of royal reserves as part of King Salman’s keenness to preserve the natural environment, vegetation, and wildlife, to promote ecotourism, limit hunting and overgrazing, to prevent forest erosion, and to ensure the enjoyment of natural reserves based on the regulations governing them.


Saudi public prosecution announces results of investigation into Khashoggi killing

Updated 49 min 19 sec ago
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Saudi public prosecution announces results of investigation into Khashoggi killing

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said on Thursday he was seeking the death penalty for five out of 11 suspects charged in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was killed in the country’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 after a struggle by a lethal injection dose and his body was dismembered and taken out of the building, he told reporters in Riyadh.

The Prosecutor said Khashoggi’s body parts were then handed over to a local Turkish agent outside the consulate grounds, the spokesman said, adding that the drawing of the agent has been prepared and will be handed over to the Turkish authorities.

He said that the head of Khashoggi’s repatriation team was the one who ordered the killing of the victim, adding that the investigations into the whereabouts of the victim’s body are still ongoing.

He noted that the mission of the team was to persuade Khashoggi to return to the kingdom.

The prosecutor said a former adviser had been due to meet the team that was ordered to repatriate journalist Khashoggi, who was killed after efforts to negotiate his return failed.

He added that the ex-advisor had been banned from travelling and remained under investigation, and that the case has been transferred to court while investigations continue.

The prosecutor said Saudi Arabia has requested Turkey to sign a cooperation deal on a probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“We have requested the brotherly Turkish authorities to sign a special cooperation mechanism specific to this case in order to provide them with the results of the investigation,” he said, adding that “the public prosecutor is still awaiting a response to these requests.”