JEDDAH: The Saudi National Center for Wildlife, in cooperation with the King Salman Royal Natural Reserve, on Wednesday released 200 animals belonging to endangered species into the wild at Al-Tubaiq nature reserve in the northwest of the Kingdom.
As part of an NCW program to propagate and resettle local endangered species in natural habitats across the Kingdom, the center released 50 Arabian oryxes, 100 Reem antelopes, 30 houbara birds and 20 mountain ibexes in the reserve, which if one of the three main sections of the 130,700-square-kilometer KSRNR.
The open-environment release was the first of its kind involving Arabian oryx in the northwest of the Kingdom, which is an ancient natural habitat for the species.
Observers at the release included Prince Mutib bin Fahad Al-Faisal, chairman of the executive committee and advisor to the chairman of the board of directors at KSRNR, Mohammed Qurban, the CEO of NCW, and Abdullah Al-Amer, the CEO of KSRNR.
Qurban said that the release of the animals forms part of the center’s initiatives to resettle local endangered species, restore biodiversity, enhance the ecological balance and improve environmental sustainability, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Al-Amer echoed these comments and said that the aim is to increase biodiversity in the reserve, which will help to improve the ecological balance and achieve environmental-development goals associated with the restoration of wildlife.
He added that the NCW operates a number of specialist centers that are at the forefront of global facilities that specialize in breeding endangered species and returning them to their natural environments in accordance with the highest approved standards for such projects.
Qurban said that the center released 785 animals in reserves and national parks in the Kingdom last year and has plans to release more than 1,000 this year.
There are currently 15 nature reserves in Saudi Arabia and proposals to grant 20 other areas protected status.
It has been reported that the center is carrying out research related to antelope and oryx populations to help plan the periodic release of more of the animals into reserves. The center also monitors biodiversity in protected areas, using the latest technology to track wildlife and collect data to document and understand the threats to wildlife.