First photos of Saudi's new Arabian leopard cub

© Aline Coquelle

The leopard cub at five months old. It’s the 16th cub to be born at the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center

– Aline Coquelle

Saudi Arabia has released the first pictures of its new Arabian leopard cub, a female born in April this year at a captive breeding programme in Taif in the south of the country.

It’s the 16th cub to be born at the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center, and its birth marked a major milestone achievement for the country’s conservation efforts.

The Arabian leopard had previously roamed across the entire Arabian peninsula but their numbers have been dwindling due to a mixture of loss of habitats and poaching.

© Provided by The Independent It’s estimated that there are now fewer than 200 of the animals living in the wild (Aline Coquelle)

It’s estimated that there are now fewer than 200 of the animals living in the wild, and they are classed as critically endangered by the world’s wildlife authority, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has been working on multiple conservation initiatives in Saudi Arabia to secure the future of these big cats.

© Provided by The Independent The leopard is the 16th cub to be born at the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (Aline Coquelle)

It’s currently overseeing the hugely successful breeding programme at Taif, while also developing a new state of the art programme in AlUla in the north-west of the country.

At the same time, the RCU has been working to rehabilitate the habitat that once supported the Arabian leopard and its prey in the hope that these animals can once again roam in the wild.

The Independent is the media partner for the Saudi Green Initiative summit in October. Find out more about the RCU’s work here.

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