Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has proclaimed February 10 as "Arabian Leopard Day", aiming to raise awareness on the endangered species, Arab News reported.
The Saudi Council of Ministers had announced the decision last month after the species of cat family got classified as critically endangered from extinction.
The Arabian leopard has a prestigious place in Saudi's culture. The species' population is but under 200 due to hunting and lack of availability of natural prey.
Saudi Education Ministry has decided to involve the younger generation in the awareness drive. Students of the Second Public Kindergarten of AlUla, as well as from other schools, tweeted pictures of the leopard to extend their support to the awareness drive.
Saudi had established the Global Fund to Protect the Arabian Leopard from Extinction in the Sharaan Nature Reserve, in December 2020. This initiative was taken by Prince Badr Bin Farhan, the minister of culture and governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla. It was intended to protect the species, along with its natural prey and habitat.
Also, the commission and Kingdom's National Center for Wildlife were working on more programmes to safeguard the leopard, including broadening a breeding programme inside the Sharaan reserve.
In 2021, Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud had launched a non-profit foundation named Catmosphere, aiming to increase awareness of the leopard and several other endangered cat species globally. The Princess is the Saudi's envoy to the US.
Saudi works with "Panthera Corporation", which works on conserving wild cat species of the world.
Hunting Arabian leopard is an offence with penalties of up to 400,000 Saudi riyals ($106,000) and ten years imprisonment. If repeated, the fine will become 30 million Saudi riyals.