RIYADH: The National Center for Wildlife released the first batch of 85 endangered animals into Prince Mohammed bin Salman Royal Reserve on Sunday, marking the commencement of the 2023-2024 season.
This initiative is a crucial part of the national program, which focuses on reintroducing, rehabilitating, and releasing endangered animal species, contributing to biodiversity enrichment in the Kingdom.
Sunday morning marked a significant moment as the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Royal Reserve extended its conservation initiatives by introducing a diverse array of wildlife.
Among the new residents were 20 Arabian oryxes, 40 Arabian gazelles, six Nubian ibexes, and six mountain gazelles.
The reserve also reintroduced several rehabilitated birds, including four steppe eagles, four griffon vultures, a lappet-faced vulture, and four pharaoh eagle owls.
This release continues the ongoing collaboration between the reserve and the National Center for Wildlife.
Their joint efforts aim to rehabilitate the reserve’s ecosystems, enhance biodiversity, and contribute to achieving national conservation objectives.
Dr. Mohammed Ali Qurban, CEO of the National Center for Wildlife, shed light on the core objectives of the release program.
He stressed to Arab News that the program’s primary mission is to reintroduce endangered local species to their natural habitats.
This initiative forms a pivotal part of the Saudi Green Program and aligns with the national strategy for environmental conservation.
Its goals include fostering sustainable development, safeguarding and diversifying natural resources, and contributing to global environmental preservation endeavors.
Qurban also underscored the robust collaboration and synergy between the center and various national entities with shared interests.
He said the center is a global frontrunner in breeding and reintroducing endangered species to their native ecosystems, adhering rigorously to the highest international standards.
The center actively conducts extensive research on these species’ living conditions, proactively monitors biodiversity in protected areas, harnesses state-of-the-art tracking technologies for wildlife collects invaluable data, and attains an intricate understanding of both the potentials and challenges confronting nature.
“Protecting wildlife and creating protected areas today is no longer a luxury, but has become a necessity for the continuation of life, as nature abounds with the ingredients of life, thus providing the optimal natural environments and resources to sustain life on planet Earth,” Qurban said.
“By protecting innate diversity, we ensure the continuity of food chains and the preservation of plant and animal genetic diversity to ensure the sustainability of life-supporting systems on Earth,” he stressed.
“Protecting the natural diversity in various sites has provided fertile environments for researchers and specialists in scientific matters and studies, not to mention the great benefits for community members such as entertainment, hiking, and tourism.
“Protected areas are sites dedicated to the conservation and enhanced use of renewable natural resources in a way that supports sound socio-economic development,” he added.
“This is what … has developed in recent years after the issuance of the current Environmental System and its Executive Regulations, which organized and legalized reserves and wildlife and imposed deterrent penalties on violations that may harm environmental systems,” Qurban said.
“The result of this was to stimulate the presence of many interested parties in the environmental field, which led to an increase in the area of protected areas from 4.56 percent to 18.1 percent terrestrial reserves and from 3.76 percent to 6.48 percent marine reserves.
“These terrestrial and marine reserves are managed with high efficiency to rehabilitate our ecosystems and enrich biodiversity, enhancing environmental balance, which led to improving the quality of life,” Qurban added.