Native species return home as Saudi Arabia heeds call of the wild

Ten Nubian ibex were released by the Royal Commission for AlUla to mark World Wildlife Day on Thursday. (Shutterstock)
Ten Nubian ibex were released by the Royal Commission for AlUla to mark World Wildlife Day on Thursday. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 March 2022

Native species return home as Saudi Arabia heeds call of the wild

Ten Nubian ibex were released by the Royal Commission for AlUla to mark World Wildlife Day on Thursday. (Shutterstock)
  • Saudi Arabia marks World Wildlife Day with release of endangered animals in AlUla nature reserve

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has answered the call of the wild by releasing some of its most revered endangered native species into their ancestral home at AlUla’s Sharaan Nature Reserve.

The 20 Arabian oryx, 50 sand gazelles and 10 Nubian ibex were released by the Royal Commission for AlUla to mark World Wildlife Day on Thursday.
Commenting on the animal release program, Amr Al-Madani, the commission’s CEO, said that by sustaining ecosystems and wildlife, “our teams are unleashing the power of nature.”
He added that the program is a living example of the commission’s commitment to Saudi sustainability goals, as well as those of the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative.




Saudi Arabia declared Feb. 10 ‘Arabian Leopard Day’ in a bid to raise awareness of the endangered big cat. (SPA)

In line with global conservation guidelines, the commission will monitor the animals with satellite tracking collars, camera trapping and other high-tech tools.
Ahmed Al-Malki, the commission’s director of nature reserves, said that the release program will be expanded in coming years as part of a long-term goal to reintroduce 12 native species by 2035.
The Sharaan Nature Reserve is located in the eastern part of AlUla governorate. In all, the commission is creating six reserves covering about 12,400 square kilometers.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The 20 Arabian oryx, 50 sand gazelles and 10 Nubian ibex were released by the Royal Commission for AlUla to mark World Wildlife Day on Thursday.

• The Sharaan Nature Reserve is located in the eastern part of AlUla governorate.

• Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, launched the nonprofit foundation Catmosphere to raise awareness of the many endangered cat species around the world, including the Arabian leopard.

It is also collaborating with the International Union for Conservation of Nature to develop a “protected area network” plan for the reserves to ensure sustainable adaptive management, enable movement of species and enhance climate change resilience.
Saudi animal reserves where endangered animals, such as the Arabian oryx, are being sheltered include Prince Saud Al-Faisal Center for Wildlife Research in Taif and Prince Mohammed Al-Sudairy Center for the Breeding of Reem Gazelles in Al-Qassim.




Twenty Arabian oryx were released by the Royal Commission for AlUla into Sharaan Nature Reserve. (Shutterstock)

The Prince Saud Al-Faisal center was established more than 35 years ago on an area of about 35 square kilometers. Today the desert-like nature reserve is fenced off, and surrounded by Talh trees and wild herbs. Houbara and Arabian oryx, two important endangered species, are cared for at the center.
The Saudi minister of environment, water and agriculture and CEO of the National Center for Wildlife Development, Abdul Rahman Al-Fadhli, last month inspected the King Khalid Wildlife Research Center in Al-Thumama to check on progress of the breeding and resettlement programs for endangered native species.
He also inaugurated a new veterinary clinic and research laboratory after attending a presentation about the center. The minister’s tour included antelope breeding units, oryx and mountain ibex units, and a review of a rehabilitation area. He also released 20 goitered antelopes in the rehabilitation area.
In December 2020, Minister of Culture and Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan established a global fund to protect the Arabian leopard from extinction, with the aim of sustaining the leopard population and its prey, and protect its natural habitat in the Sharaan Nature Reserve.
Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, launched the nonprofit foundation Catmosphere to raise awareness of the many endangered cat species around the world, including the Arabian leopard.
The Kingdom also works closely with Panthera, which is devoted to the conservation of the world’s wild cat species.
Last month, Saudi Arabia declared Feb. 10 “Arabian Leopard Day” in a bid to raise awareness of the endangered big cat.
The move, which was announced by the Council of Ministers last month, is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to protect the species, now classed as critically endangered, from extinction.
The Arabian leopard is the chief predator in Saudi Arabia and plays a major role in the Kingdom’s culture. But overhunting and a lack of natural prey means there are now fewer than 200 left in the wild.
Meanwhile, 10 billion mangrove trees will be planted across Saudi Arabia as part of the Saudi Green Initiative launched last year with the aim of tackling climate change, reducing carbon emissions and improving the environment.
The initiative is expected to “turn the desert green” and rehabilitate 40 million hectares of land in coming decades.
A study is underway to develop a masterplan for planting the trees, which will help to improve air quality, reduce sandstorms, combat desertification and lower temperatures in nearby areas.
Saudi Arabia is also helping the Middle East region and Africa to protect the environment, reduce emissions and raise regional coordination.
Following an invitation by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Middle Eastern and African leaders, along with international officials in the environment and climate change sector, gathered last year for the inaugural Middle East Green summit in the Saudi capital.
The forum reviewed several targeted programs and projects announced by the Kingdom to help achieve the Middle East Green Initiative’s goals.
Ambitious green plans will support efforts and cooperation in the region to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions through natural solutions and adaptations.
This includes the planting of 50 billion trees in the region, equivalent to 5 percent of the global target for afforestation and the most extensive program of its kind worldwide, according to a Middle East Green Initiative summit statement.


Pilgrims praise receiving ‘finest services’ at Halat Ammar crossing

Pilgrims praise receiving ‘finest services’ at Halat Ammar crossing
Updated 14 sec ago

Pilgrims praise receiving ‘finest services’ at Halat Ammar crossing

Pilgrims praise receiving ‘finest services’ at Halat Ammar crossing
  • Pilgrims expressed their appreciation for the great efforts made by hosts Saudi Arabia to make their pilgrimage safe, comfortable and meaningful

JEDDAH: Officials at the Halat Ammar border crossing are continuing their efforts to welcome pilgrims from abroad through an integrated system of services provided by civil, military, and government agencies.

The services aim to better help pilgrims and improve the quality of services provided by the Saudi government, from the moment pilgrims arrive in the Kingdom, on their way to the holy sites, and until they return to their home countries.

Under the direct supervision and follow-up of Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the region’s Hajj work committee at Halat Ammar’s Pilgrims’ City also provides medical services and religious awareness programs.

Pilgrims expressed their satisfaction with the services provided, saying that King Salman had spared no effort to help his Muslim brothers and sisters wherever they were.

Palestinian pilgrim Widad Ibrahim expressed her great pleasure in being among this year’s pilgrims. She also thanked the Saudi authorities for the services they were providing.

“The pilgrims are receiving the finest services, and for that, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the services and hospitality we found. In fact, they reflect the Saudi government and people's interest in serving the guests of Allah who come from all corners of the world to perform their Hajj rituals,” Ibrahim said.

Pilgrims also expressed their appreciation for the great efforts made by Saudi Arabia in utilizing its capabilities and services to aid pilgrims coming through the Halat Ammar border point so they could perform their rituals in an atmosphere of security, safety, comfort, stability, and tranquillity.

Another Palestinian, Wael Al-Humaidat, said he was happy for the opportunity to perform his first Hajj. He commented on the excellent services provided by the Saudi government and the warm welcome pilgrims had received.

Al-Humaidat prayed for Saudi Arabia and its people to be protected from evil. He also called for Allah to perpetuate his blessings of security and safety upon Saudi Arabia.

 

 


Boulevard Riyadh’s mixed bag of summer activities to keep enthusiasts busy

For adrenaline junkies, Doos Karting is the perfect place for you to show off your driving skills
For adrenaline junkies, Doos Karting is the perfect place for you to show off your driving skills
Updated 28 min 28 sec ago

Boulevard Riyadh’s mixed bag of summer activities to keep enthusiasts busy

For adrenaline junkies, Doos Karting is the perfect place for you to show off your driving skills
  • Karting, online gaming, rock climbing and arts all available
  • Wide array of restaurants, areas to relax and enjoy karaoke

RIYADH: Now that summer has arrived and the school year ended, Boulevard Riyadh City is the place to be with activities for everyone. It’s best to go early because entry is free and the place will be packed.

Doos Karting

For adrenaline junkies, Doos Karting is the perfect place for you to show off your driving skills and win podiums against family and friends.

The pre-Formula 1 stage race lasts anywhere between five and eight laps on two tracks. The first is 435 meters and has three challenging turns. The second is more streamlined, at 465 meters, with only two turns.

You can have a great time and experience an adrenaline rush while traveling at a top speed of 80 km/h.

Up to 10 karters can race concurrently on the multi-level tracks.

Takenda

Avoid the summer heat and enjoy a fantastic fun day in Takenda, the Middle East’s most prominent technology entertainment destination.

Takenda connects to a lounge where people can sit, relax, and enjoy a beverage while taking in the scenery of the boulevard.

You can also have a karaoke night with friends, throw a party with a stage and projector, enjoy a mascot show, and have three hours of VIP parking.

Takenda has over 60,000 games suitable for all ages, whether you are five or 50.

Visitors can play classic ones like bumper cars, arcade, table hockey, novelty, and virtual reality in a modern setting.

Adventure Park

If you like physical activities, the indoor adventure park is for you.

The place allows you to scale 10 different walls inspired by real locations in the Kingdom, including the mountains of Tuwaiq, Shammar, Hijaz, Al-Lawz, Faisal’s Finger, Al-Qara and Souda. There are also other walls mimicking climbing areas in Wadi Lajab, Harrat Rahat and Ain Heet Cave.

Children can also play in the monkey cage or on trampolines.

In the future, the company will open halls in Baha and other regions of Saudi Arabia.

Upark

If you are interested in skateboarding, Upark’s facilities will allow you to enjoy yourself thoroughly.

For beginners, training is provided for one-hour sessions.

Avalanche

Let’s not forget the world’s tallest fun slide in the Avalanche attraction for those daring enough. In the same area, a special section has been set up for those wanting to paint, draw or make pottery.

Up to 10 karters can race simultaneously on the multi-level tracks. (Supplied)

 


Bahrain to be first to connect with Saudi Arabia’s Seha Virtual Hospital

Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel meets his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Jalila Al-Sayed in Riyadh. (SPA)
Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel meets his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Jalila Al-Sayed in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 33 min 19 sec ago

Bahrain to be first to connect with Saudi Arabia’s Seha Virtual Hospital

Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel meets his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Jalila Al-Sayed in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • Saudi, Bahraini ministers discuss deal to join digital network

RIYADH: Bahrain is set to become the first country to sign up with Saudi Arabia’s Seha Virtual Hospital, the largest network of its kind in the world.

Saudi Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel recently met his Bahraini counterpart Dr. Jalila Al-Sayed, who is on a visit to the Kingdom, for talks on an agreement that will link Bahrain with the virtual hospital.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ministers discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries in a range of health fields, such as medical research, emerging diseases and monitoring post- vaccine complications.

• The two sides also reviewed joint efforts in the field of health insurance, as well as the mobile health care experience in Bahrain.

The hospital was launched in February this year as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to digitalize its healthcare sector.

Al-Jalajel outlined the functions of the Seha Virtual Hospital and its command and control center, and welcomed the prospect of Bahrain becoming the first country to be linked with the facility.

The ministers also discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries in a range of health fields, such as medical research, emerging diseases and monitoring post-vaccine complications.

Al-Sayed highlighted the importance of cooperation in the fields of genetic diseases and genes, telemedicine and clinical trials.

The two sides also reviewed joint efforts in the field of health insurance, as well as the mobile health care experience in Bahrain.

Later, the Bahraini minister toured the Seha Virtual Hospital and was given a detailed explanation of the facility’s services. She also visited the command and control center.

With a growing live network of 130 connected hospitals, Seha Virtual Hospital is the largest of its kind in the world. The only other virtual hospital to rival it is in the US, with 43 connected hospitals.

Patients of the virtual hospital will no longer need to travel to different parts of the Kingdom to be seen by specialized physicians, nor will they be limited by 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. clinic hours.

Earlier, an official told Arab News that patients can now receive second and third medical opinions from the same consulting room.

Unlike simple video calls with doctors, the virtual hospital allows patients to visit their local hospital and attend a real-time live video clinical session with top specialists from across the Kingdom. During the session, vitals signs can be shared, while tests and X-rays can also be taken and shared with the network of specialists.

Emergency interventions can be provided round the clock, and real-time consultations with top specialists will guide local junior staff in dealing with complex cases.

Seha Virtual Hospital covers 12 main specialties and more than 35 subspecialties, including hospital-at-home follow-ups, where chronically ill patients, from the comfort of their homes, can stay connected with doctors.

 


Classic diners serve up a ‘blast from the past’ on Jeddah Season’s City Walk

Burger Circus and cake shop Butter will stay throughout Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
Burger Circus and cake shop Butter will stay throughout Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
Updated 24 June 2022

Classic diners serve up a ‘blast from the past’ on Jeddah Season’s City Walk

Burger Circus and cake shop Butter will stay throughout Jeddah Season. (Supplied)
  • In an American diner, Leung said, the menu offers a wide range of choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “We just wanted to focus on just two burgers, but in an American diner theme”

JEDDAH: Two classic 1950s-themed diner options from Hong Kong have made their way to Jeddah Season’s grand theme park, City Walk.

With vintage music in the background, staff in “soda jerk” uniforms, and a one-page menu of burgers, fries and shakes, Burger Circus offers visitors a “blast from the past” experience.

Burger Circus and cake shop Butter arrived on May 5 and will stay throughout the two months of the Jeddah Season.

Both outlets belong to Black Sheep, a Chinese company with about 35 restaurants in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai.

Jonathan Leung, operations director of Black Sheep, explained the concept behind both outlets, adding that it is “an honor” to be operating in Jeddah.

HIGHLIGHT

‘Burger Circus is a 1950s American diner. One of the co-founders of Black Sheep, Christopher Mark, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and his family used to own diners, so he spent a lot of time and growing up at a diner,’ said Jonathan Leung, operations director of Black Sheep.

“Burger Circus is a 1950s American diner. One of the co-founders of Black Sheep, Christopher Mark, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and his family used to own diners, so he spent a lot of time and growing up at a diner,” he said.

“So it’s a little bit of nostalgic childhood memories. He has always wanted to open a diner.”

In an American diner, Leung said, the menu offers a wide range of choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “We just wanted to focus on just two burgers, but in an American diner theme,” he said.

Burger Circus also offers two side orders, two milkshakes (vanilla and chocolate) and two drinks on its menu.

“We want to bring good food and good stories to Jeddah; we just want to do that,” he said.

“People in Jeddah or in Saudi Arabia are open minded to try new things. There’s room for everything here, we love it here,” he added.

Talking about Butter, Leung said the background story is about a single mother with two children, who works very hard at a diner to make ends meet.

“She’s strong and generous, but she’s also very sassy. That’s Butter,” he said.

“Burger Circus and Butter go hand in hand and go very well together, it sort of came from the same era; diners prefer classic American cake,” he added.

Luke Barry, culinary director for Leylaty Group, worked with Black Sheep in Hong Kong for six years.

“I’ve always loved Black Sheep restaurants. We have a very good relationship, so I thought Jeddah Season is a good opportunity to bring them here,” he said.

“They have 30 to 35 restaurants, niche burger restaurants that are very strong and conceptualized, and Saudi Arabia has a lot of room for what they do. They have amazing restaurants, from casual to premium to Michelin star,” he added.

Barry said that they tried to replicate Hong Kong’s Burger Circus in Jeddah as much as possible.

“We spent 16 hours painting a wall (that is identical to the branch in Hong Kong), the exact posters that you find in Hong Kong, and the uniform is almost exactly the same,” said Barry.

“It was very important to us to use the exact same playlist, to bring Hong Kong’s Burger Circus here,” he added.


Saudi Arabia, Djibouti sign joint cooperation agreement on maritime transport

Saudi Arabia, Djibouti sign joint cooperation agreement on maritime transport
Updated 24 June 2022

Saudi Arabia, Djibouti sign joint cooperation agreement on maritime transport

Saudi Arabia, Djibouti sign joint cooperation agreement on maritime transport

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, represented by the Transport General Authority (TGA), has signed a joint maritime transport cooperation agreement with the Department of Maritime Affairs in Djibouti, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday.

The agreement was signed by the TGA Vice-President for the Regulatory Sector, Fawaz Al-Sahli and the ambassador of Djibouti to the Kingdom, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mohammad Ali Hassan, in the presence of a number of transport sector officials in the two countries.

The agreement aims to strengthen relations between the Kingdom and Djibouti at a strategic level and open new horizons for cooperation in various fields, especially maritime transport, one of the pillars of economic development in the world. 

It also looks to encourage trade exchange, facilitate the requirements and procedures for accessing the ports of both countries with their ships, and promote the exchange of experiences and technologies between companies, institutions and maritime institutes in this field.

The agreement includes a mechanism for treating the ships of the two countries with regard to access to their ports, docking and departure, and in cases of emergency and maritime accidents in the territorial waters.