The United Nations observes the ‘International Day of the Arabian Leopard’ on February 10 for the first time.
It aims to raise awareness about the critically endangered status of the Arabian Leopard.
In June 2023, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution designating February 10 as the International Day of the Arabian Leopard.
• The Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) is a critically endangered leopard sub-species that inhabits the Arabian Peninsula.
• It is one of the smallest leopard subspecies, with an average weight of 30-40 kg for males and 25-35 kg for females.
• Its fur is pale and buff-colored with rosettes that are small and closely spaced.
• The Arabian leopard has a very limited distribution, being found only in a few isolated pockets of habitat in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates.
• Estimates suggest there may be fewer than 200 Arabian leopards left in the wild.
• Arabian Leopard is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
• Threats to the species include urbanisation, farming, overgrazing by livestock, poaching, and the illegal wildlife trade.
• The leopard has been listed in appendix I to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora since 1975.
• The rapid disappearance of the Arabian leopard from large areas of its former range on the Arabian Peninsula represents a major setback for conservation of biodiversity and sustainability in the region.
• Conservation efforts focus on habitat protection, restoration of natural prey populations, and public education programmes to reduce human-leopard conflict.
• The Arabian leopard is legally protected across its range, but greater enforcement of laws and active management of surviving populations are needed to ensure the species’ survival.
• The UN seeks to restore the Arabian leopard as a flagship species for conservation and sustainability in its native region while emphasizing the critical role of biodiversity in maintaining the health and resilience of our planet’s ecosystems.