Rare leopard’s poisoning puts Saudi shepherd in a tight spot

Updated 25 February 2014

Rare leopard’s poisoning puts Saudi shepherd in a tight spot

The poisoning of an Arabian leopard, an endangered species, by a shepherd to protect his camel herd in Bawadi Al-Numan village in Makkah on Saturday, has shocked the National Wildlife Commission (NWC).
The shepherd poisoned the camel carcass after it was found killed by a predator, in the belief that a wolf or stray dogs may have attacked the camel. Unfortunately, the predator turned out to be an Arabian leopard which has not been seen for decades.
The NWC officials are questioning the shepherd besides launching a search for other leopards in the area.
“No one has the right to poison any animal, endangered or otherwise. People should contact us or any other authority and we will take the necessary measures to protect both sides,” said Ahmed Al-Bouq, general manager of the NWC. “We are now at the site and investigating the case. We have installed infrared cameras to see if there are more endangered animals in this area,” he said.
In this case, the shepherd found one of his camels killed by an animal. “He chopped the camel and poisoned parts of its body thinking the predators could be stray dogs. But sadly, it was an Arabian Leopard and the shepherd himself was surprised when he came to know of this,” said Al-Bouq.
“The shepherd had no right to poison any animal. We call such acts blind killing because he was not targeting a certain species but the whole circle of life,” he added.
According to Al-Bouq, the commission was working hard to save the Arabian leopard from extinction through a three-pronged initiative. “One is the captive breeding, working with around 10 leopards,” he said.
“The second measure involves research and study of wildlife by holding workshops and researches to learn more about the Arabian leopard and looking at ways and means to protect it. This also includes installing infra-red cameras and night vision cameras to monitor them and their movements,” he added.
The third step is public awareness where the NWC officials visit schools, universities and other educational institutes to educate people and spread awareness about this endangered animal.
The Arabian Leopard is found in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the UAE, and in smaller numbers in Jordan and Palestine.
“The total population of Arabian leopard may be less than 200 in the entire natural habitat, which is why we are trying our best to protect this species from getting extinct,” said Al-Bouq.


Saudi minister of foreign affairs receives US envoy to Riyadh

Updated 57 min 15 sec ago

Saudi minister of foreign affairs receives US envoy to Riyadh

  • US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid visited Adel Al-Jubeir on Monday

RIYADH: US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid called on Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir on Monday. During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and discussed issues of mutual interest.

Al-Jubeir also held a separate meeting with a delegation of the US EastWest Institute, which was led by John Hurley. During the meeting, which was attended by a number of officials, they reviewed historical Saudi-US ties and the Kingdom’s stances on different regional and international issues.