RIYADH: Experts from the National Center for Wildlife in Riyadh have discovered the ancient skeletons of 17 cheetahs in a cave in Rafha, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The center said the find was significant because it provided rare evidence of hunter-gatherer activity in the Arabian Peninsula.
The discovery was made during research into the biodiversity of caves and bodies of water in the area.
The center’s CEO Dr. Muhammad Ali Qurban said cheetahs had been extinct on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 50 years and that even specimens kept in museums and research centers were very rare.
The discovery of the skeletons, some of which had been mummified, provided the first definitive evidence that cheetahs once migrated across the peninsula to the north of Saudi Arabia, Qurban said.
He added that the find would provide valuable information to support captive breeding and resettlement programs, as well as future research.
The National Center for Wildlife has shelters for cheetahs all over the world, as it works to breed and resettle the animals in Saudi Arabia.