Saudi wildlife center uses satellite tracking devices to monitor animals

Saudi wildlife center uses satellite tracking devices to monitor animals
Satellite tech will be used to track animal movements. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 March 2023

Saudi wildlife center uses satellite tracking devices to monitor animals

Saudi wildlife center uses satellite tracking devices to monitor animals
  • 92 wild animals released into Al-Baida Park to help enrich biodiversity

MAKKAH: Al-Baida Park in Madinah is embracing technology in a bid to track the movement of its wildlife.

Abdulrahman Al-Fadli, the Saudi minister of environment, water and agriculture, recently presided over the release of some 92 wild animals into the park to help enrich biodiversity, and restore environmental balance and aid sustainability.

And Dr. Ahmed Al-Bouq, director general of wildlife conservation at the National Center for Wildlife Development, supports the concept of using technology to help the well-being of the creatures at the location.

He told Arab News that the evaluation process is the first step in any release operation. This includes focusing on the release area and noting whether it will aid protection and if it contains the vegetation density to help the species.

He said: “During the first release, we dealt with 10 species, including the Alpine ibex, mountain gazelles, vultures, eagles, crowned sandgrouses, European turtle doves, crested larks and Namaqua doves.

“The pre-evaluation process is of utmost importance as it will provide us with sufficient information on how to set appropriate conditions to ensure the safety and integration of all animals.”

Al-Bouq said that this is followed by the installation of satellite tracking devices to target the released animals and track their movements.

He added: “What we are aiming to achieve is to bring people closer to wildlife, while giving them the chance to become familiar with animals that are endangered, so they no longer find them strange or feel a cultural dimension keeping both worlds apart. The release operation is a bridge linking people and wildlife.”

Al-Bouq said that the center is working hard on helping people understand the link between man and nature, in the hope of helping to enrich the environment in the process.

He added: “We are adding to the diversity in parks and raising the visitors’ environmental awareness level, while enhancing the readiness of concerned parks to invest in the wildlife sector in general.

“We are also looking to improve the level and quality of life of the animals, given that natural parks are way more important than industrial parks, especially in the outskirts of cities, such as Al-Baida wild natural park.”

The Verreaux’s eagle was released in Al-Baida Park. It is a breeding resident of the Kingdom that can only be found in the western highlands in mountainous areas. Pairs can be seen throughout the year near nesting sites in rocky cliffs.

The greater hoopoe is a bird that was also released during the operation, along with the Tristram’s starling.

The steppe eagle was also released into the park. This is a migrant bird that visits the Kingdom during the winter season, from November until the end of March.

It can be found in deserts, mountains, plains, and near the beach, as well as in garbage dumps.

The bird breeds in central and northern Kazakhstan, and feeds on rodents and dead animals.

The nubian ibex is a herbivore goat species with a stout brown body, and it too was released into the park. It traditionally lives in mountainous areas and on steep slopes.

It needs to be continuously hydrated so the animal gravitates to areas where surface water is available.

The mountain gazelle was also released. The King Khalid Wildlife Research Center is currently working on reintroducing the gazelle into the national center’s related reserves, as well as into the national parks in the Kingdom.
 


Umrah pilgrims must book via app, says Saudi interior ministry

Umrah pilgrims must book via app, says Saudi interior ministry
Updated 10 sec ago

Umrah pilgrims must book via app, says Saudi interior ministry

Umrah pilgrims must book via app, says Saudi interior ministry

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who wish to perform the Muslim Umrah ritual are now required to reserve an appointment via the Nusuk or Tawakkalna apps, the Saudi interior ministry announced on Tuesday.

“The Umrah security plan for (this) year included managing and organizing crowds and traffic, providing humanitarian services, supporting and empowering the entities participating in implementing the plan, and distributing manpower,” said Director of Public Security Lt. Gen. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Bassami.

He said that there were a “sufficient” number of bookings available, and called on pilgrims to adhere to their specific dates, all of which were being organized in coordination with the Ministry of Hajj and the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

He was speaking to reporters during a press conference for the leaders of the Umrah security forces on the ministry’s plans and preparations for this year’s Umrah season at the 911 Unified Operations Center in Makkah, the state-run SPA news agency reported.

“The expected densities in public transport stations at the entrances to Makkah and the vicinity of the Third Ring Road and next to the Holy Mosque of Makkah were taken into account, and the paths were reorganized to ensure crowd movement safety,” Al-Bassami said.

He stressed the importance of wearing face masks to preserve public health and in compliance with instructions for preventive measures and health regulations.

Al-Bassami said that large crowds would be directed accordingly and beggars who entered these sites would be dealt with firmly and strictly.

Director-General of Civil Defense Maj. Gen. Hammoud bin Suleiman Al-Faraj said: “The General Directorate of Civil Defense has completed its preparations in all sites frequented by pilgrims and visitors to ensure readiness, fire prevention and protection, especially in areas that witness high density.”

He said that the Civil Defense had coordinated with authorities to take legal measures by applying regulations and controlling violations.

Al-Faraj said that the directorate was ready for intensive deployment around the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and important sites through safety inspectors and support forces.

He praised the fire and rescue services in Makkah, Madinah, the holy site centers, and the deployment of mobile units at specific times.

Al-Faraj also praised the creation of a number of rapid intervention teams, especially in the central area in Makkah, around the Prophet’s Mosque and other vital sites.

Maj. Gen. Saleh bin Saad Al-Murabba, deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Passports, said that his authority had worked on early social and technical preparations and equipment for the Umrah season, developed plans and executive programs, raised media awareness, enhanced communication, and supported and assisted operating agencies for pilgrims.

He said that the directorate had completed its operational preparations by equipping ports with manpower and modern technologies to easily complete the procedures for pilgrims at all international ports, through qualified staff that spoke a number of languages to guide visitors to adhere to Umrah instructions.


King Salman sends best wishes for Ramadan to Saudi citizens and all Muslims

King Salman sends best wishes for Ramadan to Saudi citizens and all Muslims
Updated 22 March 2023

King Salman sends best wishes for Ramadan to Saudi citizens and all Muslims

King Salman sends best wishes for Ramadan to Saudi citizens and all Muslims
  • It came as he chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting, during which ministers reviewed the outcome of recent meetings and approved a number of international agreements

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday sent his best wishes for Ramadan to citizens of the Kingdom and Muslims everywhere, expressing his hope that the holy month will bring hope and peace to Muslims and the entire world.

He instructed authorities involved in providing services for visitors to the Two Holy Mosques to continue to work with the highest levels of efficiency and excellence to ensure that pilgrims can perform their rituals with ease and tranquility, the Saudi press Agency reported.

The king was speaking as he chaired the weekly Cabinet session at Irqah Palace in Riyadh, after the Supreme Court announced that Ramadan would begin on Thursday.

Minister of Media Salman Al-Dosari said ministers reviewed a number of issues that were discussed during meetings involving senior Saudi officials in the past week that aimed to develop relations and cement the regional and international status and role of the Kingdom.

Ministers reviewed Saudi Arabia’s participation during the 49th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, during which its representatives affirmed the Kingdom’s continued support for joint action, particularly in the humanitarian and development fields, and its unwavering stance in support of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect worldwide.

The Cabinet noted the Kingdom’s pledge, during an International Donors’ Conference in Brussels on Monday, to support the victims of the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria, help mitigate the effects of the disaster, and assist the recovery process.

Ministers affirmed that such efforts reflect the Kingdom’s constant commitment to showing solidarity with communities in need around the world and helping to address their needs.

The Council of Ministers said that recent positive evaluations by credit-rating agencies of the Kingdom’s economy reflected the effectiveness of the reforms implemented by the state, including the development of public-finance management, improvements to the quality of financial planning, and the more efficient use of resources under the financial sustainability program.

Al-Dosari said that the fact the Kingdom climbed 15 places on the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index 2022 is a reflection of the continued interest in and support for upgrading the quality of the research, development and innovation sector, which is helping to enhance the Kingdom’s global competitiveness and leadership in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding for cultural cooperation between the Saudi and Mexican cultural ministries, and another relating to the digital economy between the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and its Chinese counterpart.

It also authorized the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance to sign a draft memorandum of understanding in the field of Islamic affairs with the Somali Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs.

Ministers approved two agreements with South Africa, one for cooperation in a feasibility study for establishing a joint fund to encourage direct investment, and another for cooperation in the field of maritime transport.

They authorized the minister of transport and logistics and the chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation to sign a draft agreement for air services with the Polish government.

The Cabinet also authorized the chairman of the Education and Training Evaluation Commission to sign a draft cooperation agreement for the evaluation and accreditation of Arab language curricula and programs with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization.

Ministers approved an agreement between the Saudi Public Prosecution Office and its Tajik counterpart for combating terrorism and its financing, money laundering, and other related offenses.

They also added the Human Rights Commission to the membership of the secondment and employment committee of regional and international organizations and bodies, and approved amendments to a bylaw for protecting personal data.


Ramadan Season to take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah throughout holy month

Ramadan Season to take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah throughout holy month
Updated 22 March 2023

Ramadan Season to take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah throughout holy month

Ramadan Season to take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah throughout holy month
  • The series of events aim to celebrate aspects of the Kingdom’s historical and cultural heritage that relate in particular to Ramadan

RIYADH: Ramadan Season, a series of cultural experiences and events organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, will take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah throughout the holy month.

The season aims to celebrate aspects of the Kingdom’s historical and cultural heritage that relate in particular to Ramadan, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

A wide range of events and activities are scheduled, including Qur’an-memorizing competitions, calligraphy workshops, outdoor cinemas, puppet theaters, interactive art events and a volleyball championship.

They will take place at a number of locations and venues in each of the cities, which will also offer Saudi coffee, food stalls, cafes, and shops selling Ramadan sweets, ornaments and other traditional products.

 


Saudi FM holds foreign policy discussion with researchers

Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting with thinkers and researchers in Riyadh. (Twitter @KSAMOFA)
Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting with thinkers and researchers in Riyadh. (Twitter @KSAMOFA)
Updated 21 March 2023

Saudi FM holds foreign policy discussion with researchers

Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting with thinkers and researchers in Riyadh. (Twitter @KSAMOFA)
  • The session’s talks covered the main aims and objectives of Saudi foreign policy

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Tuesday met with thinkers and researchers to discuss priorities in relation to the Kingdom’s policies abroad.

The session’s talks covered the main aims and objectives of Saudi foreign policy, its role in helping create the conditions for achieving the goals of Vision 2030, consolidating security and stability in the country and wider region, and strengthening partnerships with other nations.

 

 


Riyadh conference to focus on AI in healthcare

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 21 March 2023

Riyadh conference to focus on AI in healthcare

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh. (SPA)
  • The conference will focus on applied artificial intelligence in healthcare, presenting cutting-edge technologies

RIYADH: The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh will on May 16 host a digital health conference with delegates attending from around the world.

More than 50 speakers from leading healthcare markets and thousands of attendees from at least 15 participating countries are expected to gather in the city for the event.

The conference will focus on applied artificial intelligence in healthcare, presenting cutting-edge technologies and showcasing its benefits in promoting best practices for healthcare safety, cost-effectivity, sustainability, and practicality.

The two-day meeting will include exhibitions, workshops, panel sessions, and sections on emerging technology.

Osama Alswailem, chief information officer at the center, said: “The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center believes in emerging technologies and the power of AI in advancing regional healthcare toward better care quality, efficient operations, and better patient experiences.

“These technologies complement the continuous digital healthcare transformation the country is undertaking.

“This conference will converge world-class thought leaders, digital solutions, and technologies to innovate and disrupt the current healthcare models,” he added.