RIYADH: The National Center for Wildlife on Monday released 20 Arabian oryxes and 30 rhim gazelles into King Khalid Royal Reserve as part of a program to reintroduce endangered species to their natural environments across the Kingdom.
The move was in collaboration with the Imam Abdul Aziz bin Mohammad Royal Reserve Development Authority.
Dr. Muhammad Ali Qurban, the center’s CEO, said the reintroduction of local species threatened with extinction would help to restore biodiversity, improve the environmental balance and solidify the concept of environmental sustainability.
The program is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to create a better environment and improve living standards.
Qurban said the wildlife center had researched the best time to reintroduce the gazelles and oryxes. As well as the animals, it aimed to reintroduce more than 1,000 fungal organisms this season across all reserves and national parks, he added.
The center uses the latest technology to monitor animal populations and collect data about the biodiversity in each of the reserves.
The IARDA, which oversees two royal reserves — the Imam Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad Royal Reserve and King Khalid Royal Reserve — also aims to maintain ecological balance and restore biodiversity.
The two reserves, which cover about 12,000 sq. km northeast of Riyadh, are similar in topography and both are crossed by the Urmah mountains. These play a central role in supporting the ecosystems of the two reserves by creating beautiful wadis and balanced habitats for the many species that are found there.
“The two most difficult challenges those (antelope) species have faced in the wild is overhunting and loss of habitat,” Dr. Talal Al-Harigi, IARDA’s CEO, said.
“The effect of both challenges has caused a decrease of species abundance in the area.”
Al-Harigi told Arab News that the development authority was working to eliminate threats through four main initiatives. These are: rewilding wildlife species with an emphasis on endangered ones, increasing vegetation coverage, promoting environmental awareness, and managing and regulating hunting and grazing activities.