Status and Conservation of the Leopard on the ... - Nwrc.gov.sa

nwrc.gov.sa

Status and Conservation of the Leopard on the ... - Nwrc.gov.sa

ISSN 1027-2992

CAT NEWS

Special Issue N o 1 2006

ong>Statusong> ong>andong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>Leopardong> on

ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula

IUCN

The World ong>Conservationong> Union

SPECIES SURVIVAL COMMISSION

Cat Specialist Group


CAT News

is ong>theong> newsletter ong>ofong> ong>theong> Cat Specialist

Group, a component ong>ofong> ong>theong> Species

Survival Commission ong>ofong> The World

ong>Conservationong> Union (IUCN).

Regular issues are published twice

a year. Additionally, Special Issues

on specific topics are published in

between. Cat News is available to

subscribers to Friends ong>ofong> ong>theong> Cat

Group.

The personal subscription for Friends

is CHF 60 or US$ 50 p.a.;

CHF 30 or US$ 25 for

bona fide students.

The institutional subscription is

CHF 120 or US$ 100.

Cheques are payable to IUCN/SSC

Cat Specialist Group, KORA,

Thunstrasse 31,

CH-3074 Muri b. Bern,

Switzerlong>andong>.

Bank transfer to UBS AG,

CH-3000 Bern 77, Switzerlong>andong>.

Account nos.

for CHF: 235-359825.41H

for US$: 235-359825.60Y

Swift Code for wire transfer:

UBSWCHZH30A.

Contents

1. Foreword.................................................................................................3

2. The ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula - Distribution ong>andong> Subspecies

ong>Statusong>......................................................................................................4

3. The ong>Leopardong> in Jordan............................................................................9

4. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Saudi Arabia.................................... 11

5. ong>Statusong> Report on Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Yemen.......................................20

6. ong>Statusong> Report for ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman........26

7. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> United Arab Emirates................33

8. History ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Captive Breeding Programme...........40

9. A Framework for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>................44

CAT News Special Issue No 1

on ong>theong> ong>Statusong> ong>andong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong>

ong>Leopardong> on ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula

has been produced with financial

assistance ong>ofong> ong>theong> Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife - Government

ong>ofong> Sharjah

Editors: Urs & Christine

Breitenmoser

KORA, Thunstrasse 31, 3074 Muri,

Switzerlong>andong>

Tel ++41(31) 951 90 20

Fax ++41(31) 951 90 40



Guest Editors: David Mallon


Jane-Ashley Edmonds


Layout: Christine Breitenmoser

ISSN 1027-2992

Cover photo: Arabian ong>Leopardong> at ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah, UAE. Photo: Jane-Ashley Edmonds ong>andong> Kevin Budd.

2006


Foreword

The rapid disappearance ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>, along with so much ong>ofong> its main prey, from large areas ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir former

range in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula represents a major setback for conservation ong>ofong> biodiversity in ong>theong> region.

Full details ong>ofong> former status ong>andong> abundance are lacking, but it can be supposed that distribution once extended over all

ong>theong> mountainous parts ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. As ong>theong> reports from each range state included here indicate, ong>theong> current

situation is critical. In ong>theong> worst case, only three populations widely scattered across ong>theong> Peninsula now survive. The actual

situation may be slightly more favourable, with oong>theong>r remnant populations surviving in remote areas, but ong>theong>se must be

small ong>andong> fragmented ong>andong> ong>theong>ir long-term viability uncertain.

The Arabian leopard formed a major item on ong>theong> agenda ong>ofong> ong>theong> first ong>Conservationong> Workshop for ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia held

at ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife in Sharjah in 2000 ong>andong> it has continued to feature regularly at ong>theong>

annual meetings held since ong>theong>n.

Over ong>theong> last few years, it has been very encouraging to witness ong>theong> development ong>ofong> a successful captive breeding programme

based here in Sharjah ong>andong> with ong>theong> cooperation ong>ofong> oong>theong>r facilities from around ong>theong> region. The ong>ofong>fspring produced

by ong>theong> programme serve as a safeguard against ong>theong> total extinction ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard ong>andong> potentially provide stock for

releases at some point in ong>theong> future.

The challenge facing all ong>ofong> us now is to translate this success to ong>theong> leopard population in ong>theong> wild. Compilation ong>ofong> this

report is an important initial step in this process by bringing togeong>theong>r all that is currently known ong>andong> highlighting ong>theong> many

important gaps in knowledge that remain to be filled.

The task now is to formulate ong>andong>, crucially, to enact, measures that will enable first ong>theong> survival, ong>andong> ong>theong>n ong>theong> recovery

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard. The projected range-wide ong>Conservationong> Strategy ong>andong> Action Plan for ong>theong> Arabian leopard will

achieve ong>theong> first part ong>ofong> this task. It will ong>theong>n become ong>theong> responsibility ong>ofong> governments to ensure that resources are applied

to realise ong>theong> recommended actions so that ong>theong> nimr can reclaim its place as ong>theong> top predator through ong>theong> mountains ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Arabian Peninsula.

Abdulaziz A. al Midfa

Director General

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong>


The ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula – Distribution ong>andong>

Subspecies ong>Statusong>

James A. Spalton 1 ong>andong> Hadi M. Al Hikmani 1

1

Office ong>ofong> ong>theong> Adviser for ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment, Diwan ong>ofong> Royal Court, PO Box 246, Muscat 113,

Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

Historically it was considered that ong>theong>re were four subspecies ong>ofong> leopards in ong>theong> Arabian region. Today P. p.

jarvisi no longer occurs ong>andong> ong>theong> ranges ong>ofong> P. p. tulliana ong>andong> P. p. saxicolor have severely contracted north.

Only P. p. nimr, ong>theong> Arabian leopard, remains. Morphological data suggests nimr to be ong>theong> smallest ong>ofong> ong>theong>

leopards ong>andong> a distinct subspecies but this has yet to be conclusively confirmed by genetic evidence. Recent

records give a bleak picture ong>ofong> ong>theong> status ong>ofong> P. p. nimr. A few individuals survive in ong>theong> Judean Desert ong>andong>

Negev Highlong>andong>s while in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula leopards are known from just one location in ong>theong> Republic

ong>ofong> Yemen ong>andong> one in ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman. In Yemen ong>theong> leopards ong>ofong> ong>theong> Al Wada’a area are under

great pressure from killing ong>andong> from capture for trade. In Oman ong>theong> situation is much more hopeful ong>andong> ong>theong>

leopards ong>ofong> ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar Mountains have benefited from comprehensive conservation measures. While ong>theong>

possibility, however remote, ong>ofong> ong>theong> existence ong>ofong> oong>theong>r relict populations cannot be ruled out ong>theong> need for

urgent conservation action across ong>theong> region is obvious given ong>theong> reality that ong>theong> Arabian leopard may soon

be reduced to two, or even just one population in ong>theong> wild.

:


الظروف

وأدت

اختفى أحدھا،‏ فقد

أما الیوم

أربعة أنواع من النمور في المنطقة العربیة.‏

في الماضي عاشت باردوس.‏ وتشیر

بانثرا

النمر العربي المعروف لاتینیًا لاتینیا باساسم

في حین بقي

نوعین باتجاه الشمال

إلى نزوح

النمور وأمیزھا،‏ ویجري حالیًا حالیا التثبت من

إلى أن النمر ھو أصغر

المتوفرة حول الشكل البنیوي

المعلومات

الجینيیني.‏

الأمر عبرعبر الفحص

ھذا

العربي في منطقة شبھ

وضع النمر

الآونة الأخیرة صورة واضحة حول المنشورة في

قدمت السجلات

إلى الشمال،‏ وفي

صحراء النجف الواقعة

فيفي تعداد صغیر من النمور اتضح وجود

الجزیرة العربیة حیث

الیمن تعیش النمور في منطقة

في كل من الجمھوریة الیمنیة وسلطنة عُمان عمان.‏ ففي

النمورر العربیة

توجد

الالجنوب

الوضع أكثر إشراقًا إشراقا

أما في سلطنة عُمان عمان فیبدو

حقیقیة كالقتل والإمساك بھا للمتاجرة.‏

الودعة وتتعرضھاھا تھدیدات

الصون الشاملة.‏

جبال ظفار منمن تدابیر

تستوطن التي النمور حیثحیث استفادت

أن ھذا الأمر لا یمكن

العربیة في المنطقة إلا

من النمور

أخرى

وجود تعدادات جیدة بالرغم من ضآلة إمكانیة

نظرنا إلى النوع النادر وخصوصا وخصوصًا إذا ما ن

على ھذا للحفاظ

عاجلة الحاجة لاتخاذ إجراءات تبرز

ومن ھنا استبعاده.‏

حتى واحد.‏

اثنین أو إلىإلى

قد تتناقص قریبا

في البراري

تعدادات النمور العربیة

أن

حقیقة

، وفي

Introduction

The leopard Panong>theong>ra pardus once occurred

throughout much ong>ofong> Arabia (Harrison

& Bates 1991). However, over ong>theong>

past 100 years it has become increasingly

threatened as a result ong>ofong> ong>theong> depletion

ong>ofong> its prey base, killing by hunters

ong>andong> shepherds ong>andong> vulnerability ong>ofong> ever

decreasing population size. The leopard

is globally red listed as Least Concern,

but P. p. nimr is classified as Critically

Endangered (IUCN 2004) ong>andong> is listed

on Appendix I ong>ofong> ong>theong> Convention on

International Trade in Endangered Species

(CITES).

Hemprich & Ehrenberg (1833) first

described Felis nimr, based on an Abyssinian

skin ong>andong> partly on an Arabian

one. By ong>theong> middle ong>ofong> ong>theong> 20 th century it

was generally considered that ong>theong>re was

evidence for four subspecies in Arabia;

P. p. jarvisi in Sinai to ong>theong> west, P. p.

saxicolor in Iraq to ong>theong> north, P. p. tulliana

from Syria south to ong>theong> Dead Sea

in ong>theong> Levant with P. p. nimr extending

over most ong>ofong> ong>theong> region from ong>theong> Jordan

valley south ong>andong> east to Oman ong>andong> Yemen

(Harrison 1968). In this paper we

use published work ong>andong> some new data

to shed light on ong>theong> historical distribution

ong>andong> current occurrence ong>ofong> Panong>theong>ra

pardus in ong>theong> region ong>andong> attempt to clarify

ong>theong> “subspecies” issue.

Distribution

Panong>theong>ra pardus jarvisi

Pocock (in Harrison 1968) in 1932 described

P. p. jarvisi from Sinai although

ong>theong> exact locality ong>andong> origin ong>ofong> ong>theong> specimen

is not known. Harrison (1968)

considered that ong>theong> range ong>ofong> P. p. jarvisi

extended south through ong>theong> Hejaz ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia but later Harrison & Bates

2006


(1991) described P. p. jarvisi as occurring

only in Sinai ong>andong> ‘is probably little

more than ong>theong> local variant ong>ofong> nimr’.

Osborn & Helmy (1980) report a

single specimen examined from Sinai

but ong>ofong> unknown locality ong>andong> list numerous

published records ong>andong> reports for ong>theong>

peninsula from 1872 to ong>theong> early 1950s.

Substantiated reports from recent years

are lacking. In 1995, Saleh et al. (1995)

who surveyed Ras Mohammed, Nabaq

ong>andong> Abu Gallum protected areas, reported

tracks in Wadi El Omiyed ong>andong> also

reported that in May 1995 an adult leopard

was caught in a leg-hold trap near

ong>theong> western boundary ong>ofong> Abu Gallum.

In 1997 Prong>ofong>. Ibrahim Helmy sighted

a leopard near Abu Durba. In December

1997 ong>theong>re was a report ong>ofong> a leopard

being sighted in Wadi Eltala ong>andong> later

ong>theong> same month in Wadi Elgars, being

a branch ong>ofong> Wadi Eltala (Ibrahim 1998).

A camera-trapping programme ong>andong>

survey started in 1999 (Spalton 1999)

has found no evidence ong>ofong> leopards in

St. Kaong>theong>rine Protectorate or elsewhere

in Sinai (Hussam El Alqamy, personal

communication February 2006).

Nowell & Jackson (1996) recorded

P. p. jarvisi as being in Sinai ong>andong> extending

east to ong>theong> Judean desert. However,

Ilani (1990) who radio-tracked leopards

in ong>theong> late 1970s ong>andong> early 1980s reported

that ong>theong> leopards ong>ofong> ong>theong> Judean desert

ong>andong> Negev Highlong>andong>s were neiong>theong>r P. p.

jarvisi or P. p. tulliana but resembled

closest P. p. nimr. Shoemaker (1997)

states that surveys conducted in December

1992 produced a maximum estimate

ong>ofong> 8-10 leopards. Recent estimates

based on molecular scatology are ong>ofong> a

minimum ong>ofong> a male ong>andong> two females in

ong>theong> Judean Desert ong>andong> four males ong>andong>

one female in ong>theong> Negev Highlong>andong>s (Perez

et al. 2006).

Panong>theong>ra pardus tulliana

There are numerous reports ong>ofong> this subspecies

in Syria, Palestine ong>andong> Jordan

in ong>theong> late 19 th ong>andong> early 20 th centuries

(Harrison 1968). In Jordan records come

from north ong>ofong> Aqaba, south ong>ofong> Petra ong>andong>

Wadi Zarqa Ma’en (Hardy 1947) ong>andong> ong>theong>

most recent report was in 1987 (Qumsiyeh

et al. 1993). In Nowell & Jackson

(1996) P. p. tulliana is considered as ong>theong>

Anatolian leopard ong>andong> only occurring in

western Turkey. Harrison (1968) reports

this subspecies in ong>theong> Galilee area close

to Lebanon where it is believed that ong>theong>

last specimen, an old male, was killed

in 1965 (Mendelssohn 1990). Harrison

& Bates (1991) cite reports that this

subspecies is clearly flourishing furong>theong>r

south in ong>theong> Judean Hills (Ilani 1988)

ong>andong> that it occurs in ong>theong> West Bank (Ilani

1986) although Ilani (1990) believes

ong>theong> subspecies ong>ofong> ong>theong> Judean Desert to

be P. p. nimr.

Panong>theong>ra pardus saxicolor

The type locality for this subspecies

is Asterabad in souong>theong>rn Iran where it

was described in 1927. Its range is considered

to extend east to Afghanistan

ong>andong> Turkmenistan (Nowell & Jackson

1996) ong>andong> west to Turkey (Borner

1977). There is little evidence ong>ofong> this

subspecies in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula region,

ong>theong> most souong>theong>rn records coming

from a low lying area at Rawa on ong>theong>

Euphrates ong>andong> yet furong>theong>r south on ong>theong>

floodplain ong>ofong> ong>theong> Tigris at Kut al Imara

in Iraq (Harrison 1968).

Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr

As Harrison (1968) accounts, Hemrich

ong>andong> Ehrenberg’s (1833) Felis nimr was

based principally on an Arabian skin

from ong>theong> ‘mountains in ong>theong> vicinity ong>ofong>

Qunfida, Asir, Saudi Arabia’ ong>andong> Pocock

(1932), nearly 100 years later, proposed

that this form might occur on both sides

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Red Sea. However, Harrison,

who had access to additional information,

did not agree ong>andong> considered ong>theong> S.

Arabian leopard, Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr,

as distinct ong>andong> that any extension across

ong>theong> Red Sea was doubtful.

Kingdom ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia

Harrison (1968) reported specimens

only from ong>theong> Asir mountains (where ong>theong>

type specimen was obtained) that run

souong>theong>ast towards Yemen. He considered

specimens from ong>theong> Hajaz (to ong>theong>

north-west) to be P. p. jarvisi. However,

later Harrison & Bates (1991) referred

to just one subspecies, P. p. nimr, for ong>theong>

leopards ong>ofong> ong>theong> Hajaz ong>andong> ong>theong> Asir.

In 1982 a live-leopard was seen in

Wadi Hiswa in ong>theong> Asir (Gasperetti et

al. 1985), while Nader (1989) reported

on killings ong>ofong> leopards ong>andong> ong>theong> collection

ong>ofong> leopard remains in ong>theong> 1970s

ong>andong> 1980s ong>andong> concluded that if ong>theong>y

remain in ong>theong> Kingdom ong>theong>y would be

in ong>theong> Asir mountains. One year later

Biquong>andong> (1990) reported on a survey

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Asir concluding that ong>theong>y were

probably present although ong>theong>y made no

sightings. In a subsequent paper Nader

(1996) reported a small population still

in ong>theong> Hijaz ong>andong> one also in ong>theong> Asir, although

no evidence was presented. Judas

et al. (2006) report just four confirmed

records since 1999 although three were

based on evidence ong>ofong> tracks ong>andong> livestock

killing ong>andong> only in ong>theong> fourth case,

near ong>theong> Yemen border, were remains ong>ofong>

two leopards photographed in 1999. A

recent paper by Al-Johany (2007) based

on a survey from 1998 to 2001 concluded

that ong>theong> number ong>ofong> leopards in Saudi

Arabia was greater than widely believed

ong>andong> included 65 sightings by local informants.

However, none ong>ofong> ong>theong> records

or sightings was substantiated by photographic

or oong>theong>r evidence ong>andong> since that

time field surveys ong>andong> camera trapping

programs have failed to confirm ong>theong>

continuing presence ong>ofong> leopards.

A number ong>ofong> leopards were captured

in ong>theong> wild between 1997 ong>andong> 2003 ong>andong>

subsequently acquired by ong>theong> National

Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC), Taif

ong>andong> oong>theong>r private collections. However,

Judas et al. (2006) suggest that all, with

ong>theong> possible exception ong>ofong> a young male

in 1997, were captured in Yemen.

In conclusion, irrefutable evidence

that leopards still occur in ong>theong> Kingdom

is lacking. The last substantiated record

appears to have been ong>theong> two animals

found dead in 1999 near ong>theong> Yemen border.

Republic ong>ofong> Yemen

Sanborn & Hoogstraal (1953) reported

that ong>theong> species was scarce but widespread

while Harrison (1968) reports

on several specimens ong>ofong> leopard from

ong>theong> mountains around Aden ong>andong> Beihan.

Obadi (1993) reports ong>theong> killing ong>ofong>

leopard during ong>theong> late 1970s ong>andong> early

1980s in ong>theong> area ong>ofong> Lodar norong>theong>ast ong>ofong>

Aden.

Al Jumaily et al. (2006) provide details

ong>ofong> post-1990 records for five broad

clusters from areas in ong>theong> north close

to ong>theong> Saudi border to ong>theong> south in ong>theong>

Mahra Governorate ong>andong> close to ong>theong>

Oman border. However, most capture

records are from ong>theong> area ong>ofong> Al Wada’a

about 120 km north ong>ofong> ong>theong> capital where

Lagrot & Lagrot (1999) also reported

signs ong>ofong> leopard as well as captures. A

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong>


from Masafi joined ong>theong> collection at ong>theong>

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah but has not participated

in ong>theong> breeding programme. A

survey in 1995 found tracks ong>ofong> leopards

at one site ong>andong> stated that ong>theong>re may be

20 ‘or far less’ adults in ong>theong> mountains

(Stuart & Stuart 1995).

A survey in ong>theong> Emirate ong>ofong> Ras al-

Khaimah in 1999 ong>andong> 2000 found some

signs ong>ofong> leopard but were not confirmed

by camera-traps deployed at ong>theong> same

time (Llewellyn-Smith 2002). There is

a report ong>ofong> a leopard being killed on ong>theong>

UAE side ong>ofong> ong>theong> Musong>andong>am Peninsula

in February 2001 (EPAA 2003) but photographs

or carcass remains seem to be

unavailable.

Figure 1 shows ong>theong> confirmed, probable,

possible ong>andong> historical range ong>ofong> P.

p. nimr.

Fig. 1. Former ong>andong> current (since 1990) distribution information for ong>theong> leopard on ong>theong> Arabian

Peninsula. Confirmed records: Confident evidence or hard facts, such as dead specimens (with

body, skin, etc. available), photo-trap pictures, ong>andong> genetic analyses (e.g. from scats). Probable

records: All records confirmed by any evidence or by a trained person. Possible or unconfirmed

records: All not confirmed or not confirmable reports. This includes especially hearsay ong>andong>

direct observations.

spate ong>ofong> live-captures seems to have

commenced in ong>theong> early 1990s when a

young female was killed in a leopard

trap ong>andong> her male ong>ofong>fspring taken into

captivity in Sana’a from where it was

sold to ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah in 1995

(Jongbloed 2001). In subsequent years

at least 10 wild caught leopards entered

zoos in Sana’a or Ta’iz (Budd 2003) ong>andong>

at least nine were reported to have come

from ong>theong> Al Wada’a area (EPAA 2000).

Furong>theong>r animals were moved to ong>theong>

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah ong>andong> in 2002 an

animal was wild caught ong>andong> presumably

sold to ong>theong> Al Wathba Cheetah Breeding

Centre, Abu Dhabi (Budd 2003).

Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

In ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar Mountains ong>ofong> souong>theong>rn

Oman, leopards were known from ong>theong>

monsoon woodlong>andong>s ong>ofong> Jabal Qara

(Thomas 1932) ong>andong> a specimen was

collected from Jabal Samhan (Harrison

1968). It was from Jabal Samhan that

leopards were captured in 1985 to establish

ong>theong> first captive breeding group

(Usher Smith 1985). In norong>theong>rn Oman

a single skin was obtained from ong>theong>

Al Hajar range (Harrison 1968) where

in 1976 what is believed to be ong>theong> last

leopard was found killed. Specimens

were recovered from ong>theong> Musong>andong>am

peninsula during a spate ong>ofong> killing in

ong>theong> early 1980s ong>andong> ong>theong> last confirmed

report is ong>ofong> two animals killed in 1997

(Spalton et al. 2006b).

Camera-trap studies have confirmed

ong>theong> continuing presence ong>ofong> leopard in

Jabal Samhan, Dhong>ofong>ar (Spalton & Willis

1999) where over 200 photographs

ong>ofong> 17 leopards were obtained during ong>theong>

years 1997-2000 (Spalton et al. 2006a).

Ongoing camera-trapping has also confirmed

ong>theong> presence ong>ofong> 9-11 leopards in

Jabals Qara ong>andong> Qamar that run west

from Samhan to ong>theong> Oman-Yemen border.

A number ong>ofong> ong>theong>se leopards were

fitted with GPS satellite collars ong>andong>

tracked in 2001-2005 (Spalton et al.

2006b).

United Arab Emirates

Harrison (1971) reports ong>theong> presence ong>ofong>

leopard from ong>theong> mountains ong>ofong> ong>theong> norong>theong>rn

Emirates that border Musong>andong>am

in Oman. In 1986 at least one leopard

was killed in ong>theong> same mountains ong>andong>

in 1991 a male was caught alive near

Masafi while in 1992 one was shot in

Wadi Bih (Jongbloed 2001). The male

Morphological ong>andong> Molecular Genetic

Variation

Miththapala et al (1996), using molecular

genetic analysis, grouped seven putative

central Asian subspecies including

P. p. nimr, P. p. jarvisi, P. p. tulliana ong>andong>

P. p. saxicolor togeong>theong>r as ong>theong> revised

subspecies P. p. saxicolor. However,

ong>theong>ir analysis included material from

only two ong>ofong> ong>theong> seven subspecies: P. p.

sindica (Baluchistan leopard) ong>andong> P. p.

saxicolor ong>andong> ong>theong> latter were represented

entirely by a zoo-bred population.

This assessment was revisited by

Uphyrkina et al. (2001) who used new

genetic methods ong>andong> additional samples.

They had no material from P. p.

jarvisi or P. p. tulliana ong>andong> had one sample

for P. p. nimr ong>andong> three new samples

for P. p. saxicolor that had not been

used by Miththapala et al (1996). Their

work confirmed ong>theong> proposed subspecies

ong>ofong> P. p. saxicolor but tentatively

considered P. p. nimr as a subspecies

writing that ‘populations ong>ofong> P. p. nimr

appear to have been isolated for quite a

long time, accumulating multiple diagnostic

sites that distinguish it from any

oong>theong>r subspecies’. The single sample ong>ofong>

P. p. nimr was obtained from Tel Aviv

University but originated from somewhere

in south Arabia.

A study conducted at ong>theong> Breeding

Centre for Endangered Wildlife, Sharjah

(J. Williamson, pers. comm.) looked

at possible differences between leopard

from norong>theong>rn Arabia (UAE & norong>theong>rn

2006


Table 1. Specimens ong>ofong> Panong>theong>ra pardus from ong>theong> region

Location Year Subspecies Alive/

dead

Sex Weight (kg) Overall length

(mm)

Length ong>ofong>

tail (mm)

Reference

Jordan 1911 tulliana Dead F 2060 750 Harrison 1968

Judean desert 1979 nimr Alive M 29.5 1990 820 Ilani 1980

Judean desert 1979 nimr Alive F 23.5 1920 790 Ilani 1980

Judean desert 1979 nimr Alive F 22.0 1684 754 Ilani 1980

Iran saxicolor Dead 86.0 2130 - Kiabi et al. 2002

Iran saxicolor Dead 66.0 2120 - Kiabi et al. 2002

Iran saxicolor Dead 2040 - Kiabi et al. 2002

Iran saxicolor Dead 1750 - Kiabi et al. 2002

Iran saxicolor Dead 2000 - Kiabi et al. 2002

Iraq 1951 saxicolor Dead M 2591 940 Harrison 1968

Iraq - saxicolor Dead - 2261 914 Harrison 1968

Oman 1947 nimr Dead - 1965 787 Harrison 1968

Oman - nimr Dead - 2007 813 Harrison 1968

Oman 2001 nimr Alive F 18.0 1600 670 OACE unpublished data

Oman 2001 nimr Alive M 26.0 1570 # 540 OACE unpublished data

Oman 2001 nimr Alive M 34.0 2030 850 OACE unpublished data

Oman 2001 nimr Alive M 24.0 1820 770 OACE unpublished data

Oman 2003 nimr Alive M 18.0* - - OACE unpublished data

Oman 2003 nimr Alive F 19.0 - - OACE unpublished data

Saudi Arabia 1955 nimr Dead F 1778 737 Harrison 1968

Saudi Arabia 1963 nimr Dead - 1676 660 Harrison 1968

Saudi Arabia - nimr Dead - 1600 660 Harrison 1968

Sinai 1900 jarvisi Dead - 2108 737 Harrison 1968

* sub-adult; # tail damaged; OACE: Office ong>ofong> ong>theong> Adviser for ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment, Oman

Oman) ong>andong> souong>theong>rn Arabia. These areas

are both mountainous but are separated

by open desert ong>andong> gravel plains where

ong>theong> movement ong>ofong> animals between ong>theong>

populations may not have occurred or at

best been very rare. The study used both

mitochondrial DNA ong>andong> nuclear DNA

techniques but found no evidence to

support species differentiation between

norong>theong>rn ong>andong> souong>theong>rn leopards. However,

sample sizes ong>ofong> norong>theong>rn leopards

were small (mitochondrial DNA n=3,

nuclear DNA n=2). Oong>theong>r studies carried

out by ong>theong> King Khaled Wildlife

Research Center, Saudi Arabia have

been inconclusive (Judas et al. 2006)

ong>andong> a study in Oman has just commenced

(Al Ansari et al. 2005).

Morphological data is generally

lacking but based on measurements for

overall length ong>andong> some weight data

ong>andong> including specimens from Iran (Table

1), P. p. saxicolor seems to be larger

ong>andong> heavier than ong>theong> oong>theong>r three subspecies.

While sample sizes for jarvisi (n

= 1) ong>andong> tulliana (n = 1) are very small

this difference was significant for saxicolor

ong>andong> nimr (P = 0.004, df = 17).

Body length ong>ofong> nimr did not vary significantly

between those ong>ofong> ong>theong> Judean

desert, Saudi Arabia ong>andong> Oman.

Discussion

It seems that once three subspecies ong>ofong>

leopard occurred in ong>theong> region. P. p nimr

is ong>theong> principal leopard ong>ofong> ong>theong> region ong>andong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula in particular.

P. p. saxicolor is a species ong>ofong> central

Asia whose range extended south to

souong>theong>rn Iraq ong>andong> Jordan. P. p. tulliana

occurred from Turkey through Syria to

Lebanon. P. p. jarvisi probably never

occurred but was actually P. p. nimr.

Today P. p. saxicolor ong>andong> P. p. tulliana

seem no longer to occur in ong>theong> region as

ong>theong>ir ranges have contracted north.

Genetic studies seem to have established

that P. p. saxicolor is distinct

from oong>theong>r subspecies. This is supported

by morphological data that suggests

this principally Asian subspecies

is larger than oong>theong>r subspecies from ong>theong>

region. However, for ong>theong> oong>theong>r subspecies

genetic studies have not come close

to resolving ong>theong> subspecies debate. The

proposal by Miththapala (1996) to lump

ong>theong> oong>theong>r species ong>ofong> ong>theong> region has little

scientific base since it did not include

any material from populations ong>ofong> P. p.

nimr, P. p. jarvisi or P. p. tulliana. Similarly

Uphyrkina et al’s (2001) tentative

suggestion ong>ofong> nimr as a subspecies has

little credibility as it was based on a single

sample.

Furong>theong>r genetic studies may help

resolve subspecies issues. However,

while we await such studies we should

consider ong>theong> likely reality that P. p. nimr

is ong>theong> only surviving subspecies in ong>theong>

region ong>andong> that it does not occur elsewhere.

In ong>theong> Negev Highlong>andong>s ong>andong> Judean

Desert numbers are very small ong>andong>

in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula it is restricted

to Yemen ong>andong> Oman. In Yemen leopards

face severe persecution in ong>theong> wild ong>andong>

in ong>theong> last 10 years many have entered

captive collections in ong>theong> country ong>andong>

elsewhere in ong>theong> region. However, ong>theong>re

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong>


still remains an opportunity for in situ

conservation. In Oman ong>theong> situation is

more encouraging with ongoing conservation

programmes but ong>theong> total number

in ong>theong> wild is likely to be less than 200.

Whatever furong>theong>r evidence emerges

as to ong>theong> distribution ong>andong> subspecies status

ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard in ong>theong> region ong>theong> reality

is that ong>theong> Arabian leopard or ‘nimr’

in Arabic has largely gone from ong>theong> region

ong>andong> if it is to survive in ong>theong> wild it

will most likely be in ong>theong> mountains ong>ofong>

souong>theong>rn Arabia, ong>andong> in particular in ong>theong>

Dhong>ofong>ar Mountains ong>ofong> Oman.

References

Al Ansari A., Al-Khayat A., Spalton J.A.,

Al-Dafry K. ong>andong> Al-Zadjali S. 2005.

The molecular genetics ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

leopard: A preliminary study. Poster presented

at ong>theong> joint annual meeting ong>ofong> ong>theong>

International Society for Molecular Biology

ong>andong> Evolution ong>andong> ong>theong> Genetics Society

ong>ofong> Australasia, New Zealong>andong>, 19-23

June, 2005.

Al-Johany A. M. H. 2007. Distribution ong>andong>

conservation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr in Saudi Arabia. Journal

ong>ofong> Arid Environments 68, 20-30.

Al Jumaily M., Mallon, D. P., Naher A. K.

ong>andong> Thowabeh N. 2006. ong>Statusong> report

on Arabian leopard in Yemen. Cat News

Special Issue No. 1, 20-25.

Biquong>andong> S. 1990. Short review ong>ofong> ong>theong> status

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard, Panong>theong>ra pardus

nimr, in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. Unpublished

Report ong>ofong> NWRC. Taif, Saudi

Arabia.

Borner M. 1977. ong>Leopardong>s in Western Turkey.

Oryx 14, 26-30.

Budd K. 2003. Arabian ong>Leopardong> Regional

Studbook. Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah.

EPAA 2000. CAMP for Arabian Carnivores

& PHVA for ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> ong>andong>

Tahr. Final Report. Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah.

EPAA 2003. CAMP for ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia,

23-26 February 2003 Mammal Briefing

Book. Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah.

Gasperetti J., Harrison D.L. ong>andong> Buttiker W.

1985. The Carnivora ong>ofong> Arabia. Fauna ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia 7, 397-461.

Hardy E. 1947. The Palestine leopard. Soc.

Preserv. Fauna Empire 55, 16-20.

IUCN 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List ong>ofong> Threatened

Species. Online www.redlist.org

Downloaded on 25 October 2005.

Harrison D. L. 1968. The Mammals ong>ofong>

Arabia. Vol. 2. Carnivora, Artiodactyla,

Hyracoidea. Ernest Benn Ltd., London.

Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Bates P. J. J. 1991. Mammals

ong>ofong> Arabia. 2nd Edition. Harrison

Zoological Museum Publication, Sevenoaks.

Hemprich F.W. ong>andong> Ehrenberg, C.G. 1828-

1833. Symbolae physicae seu icones et

descriptiones mammalium, 1 ong>andong> 2. Berlin.

Ibrahim R.W. 1998. The Sinai ong>Leopardong> is

alive out ong>theong>re. St. Kaong>theong>rine Protectorate

Internal Document.

Ilani G. 1980. The leopards ong>ofong> ong>theong> Judean

desert. Israel Long>andong> ong>andong> Nature 6, 59-71.

Ilani G. 1986. More Cats. Israel Long>andong> ong>andong>

Nature 12, 38.

Ilani G. 1988. Continuing ong>theong> saga ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Judean Desert ong>Leopardong>s. Israel Long>andong> ong>andong>

Nature 13, 144-145.

Ilani G. 1990. ong>Leopardong> Panong>theong>ra pardus in

Israel. Cat News 12, 4-5.

Jongbloed M. 2001. Working for Wildlife.

Barkers Trident Communications, London.

Judas J., Paillat, P., Khoja, A. & Boug, A.

2006. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in

Saudi Arabia. Cat News Special Issue

No. 1, 11-18.

Kiabi B. H., Dareshouri B. F., Ghaemi R.

A. ong>andong> Jahanshahi M. 2002. Population

status ong>ofong> ong>theong> Persian ong>Leopardong> (Panong>theong>ra

pardus saxicolor Pocock, 1927) in Iran.

Zoology in ong>theong> Middle East 26, 41–47.

Lagrot I. ong>andong> Lagrot J-F. 1999. ong>Leopardong> in

ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. Cat News 30, 21-

22.

Llewellyn-Smith R. E. 2002. The Ru’us

al-Jibal mountains ong>ofong> Ras al-Khaimah –

considerations for ong>andong> against establishing

a protected area. Tribulus 12, 15-19.

Mendelssohn H. 1990. The Anatolian leopard

(Panong>theong>ra pardus tulliana). Felid

4, 6.

Miththapala S., Seidensticker J. ong>andong> O’Brien

S. J. 1996. Phylogeographic subspecies

recognition in leopards (Panong>theong>ra pardus):

molecular genetic variation. Conserv.

Biol. 10, 1115-1132.

Nader I. 1996. Distribution ong>andong> status ong>ofong> five

species ong>ofong> predators in Saudi Arabia. J.

Wildl. Res. 1, 210-214.

Nader I. 1989. Rare ong>andong> endangered mammals

ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia. In Wildlife ong>Conservationong>

ong>andong> Development in Saudi

Arabia. Proceedings ong>ofong> ong>theong> first Symposium,

Riyadh February 1987. Eds. Abdulaziz

H. Abu-Zinada, P. D. Goriup ong>andong>

I. A. Nader. NCWCD Publication No.3.

pp. 220-233. Riyadh.

Nowell K. ong>andong> Jackson P. (eds). 1996. Wild

Cats: ong>Statusong> Survey ong>andong> ong>Conservationong>

Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist

Group, IUCN, Glong>andong>, Switzerlong>andong>.

Obadi N. A. 1993. [Animals ong>ofong> Yemen:

Mammals.] Vol. 1. Obadi Publication

Centre. (In Arabic)

Osborn D. J. ong>andong> Helmy I. 1980. The contemporary

long>andong> mammals ong>ofong> Egypt (including

Sinai). Fieldiana Zool. 5, 1-579.

Perez I., Geffen E. ong>andong> Mokady O. 2006.

Critically Endangered Arabian leopards

Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr in Israel: estimating

population parameters using molecular

scatology. Oryx 40, 295-301.

Pocock R. I. 1932. “The African ong>Leopardong>”,

pp. 543-595, Plates I-IV, Proceedings ong>ofong>

ong>theong> scientific Meetings ong>ofong> ong>theong> Zoological

Society ong>ofong> London for 1932. London.

Qumsiyeh M. B., Amr Z. S. ong>andong> Shafei

D. M. 1993. ong>Statusong> ong>andong> conservation ong>ofong>

carnivores in Jordan. Mammalia 57, 55-

62.

Saleh M. A., Salim M. I. B. ong>andong> Bedare

S. M. 1995. Ecological Survey ong>ofong> South

Sinai Protected Areas – Long>andong> Vertebrates.

Internal Publication Al Azhar University,

Egypt.

Sanborn C. C. ong>andong> Hoogstraal H. 1953.

Some mammals ong>ofong> Yemen ong>andong> ong>theong>ir ectoparasites.

Fieldiana Zool. 34, 229-252.

Shoemaker A. H. 1997. The status ong>ofong> ong>theong>

leopard, Panong>theong>ra pardus, in nature: A

country by country Analysis. Unpublished

report. Riverbanks Zoological

Park, P.O. Box 1060, Columbia, SC

29202, USA.

Spalton J. A. 1999. Camera-traps for carnivore

surveys. Saint Kaong>theong>rine Protectorate

Internal Report.

Spalton J. A. ong>andong> Willis D. 1999. The status

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in Oman: First

results ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard survey. In

The Natural History ong>ofong> Oman: A Festschrift

for Michael Gallagher (eds M.

Fisher, S.A. Ghazanfar ong>andong> J. A. Spalton),

Pp. 147-160. Backhuys Publishers,

Leiden.

Spalton J. A., Al Hikmani H. M., Willis D.

ong>andong> Bait Said, A.S. 2006a. Critically Endangered

Arabian leopards Panong>theong>ra pardus

nimr persist in ong>theong> Jabal Samhan Nature

Reserve, Oman. Oryx 40, 287-294.

Spalton J. A., Al Hikmani H. M., Jahdhami,

M. H., Ibrahim, A. A. A., Bait Said A. S.

ong>andong> Willis D. 2006b. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

ong>Leopardong> Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr in

ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman. Cat News Special

Issue No. 1, 26-32.

Stuart C. &. ong>andong> Stuart T. 1995. Mammals ong>ofong>

ong>theong> UAE mountains. Tribulus 5, 20-21.

Thomas B. 1932. Arabia Felix. Jonathan

Cape, London.

Uphyrkina O., Johnson W. E., Quigley H.

Miquelle D., Marker L., Bush M. ong>andong>

O’Brien S. J. 2001. Phylogenetics, genome

diversity ong>andong> origin ong>ofong> modern

leopard, Panong>theong>ra pardus. Molecular

Ecology 10, 2617-2633.

Usher-Smith J. H. 1985. Report on ong>theong> Salalah

leopard expeditions between January

16th ong>andong> May 5th 1985. Report to ong>theong>

Government ong>ofong> Oman.

2006


The ong>Leopardong> in Jordan

Mayas Qarqaz 1 ong>andong> Mohammed Abu Baker 2

1

The Royal Society for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> Nature. P.O. Box 1215 Amman 11941 Jordan. Current address: Environment

Agency-Abu Dhabi. P.O. Box 45553, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

2

Department ong>ofong> Biology, Jordan University ong>ofong> Science & Technology. P.O. Box 3030, Irbid, 22110 Jordan

ong>Leopardong>s have been reported from several localities in Jordan. The last confirmed report dates from 1987.

There have been occasional unconfirmed reports since. Recent field surveys have failed to find signs ong>ofong>

leopard presence.

ھناك العدید من التقاریر التي تشیرإلى مشاھدة النمر العربي في الأردن،‏ وتم إعداد آخر تقریر في شأن ذلك عام

1987، وقد فشل آخر مسح میداني تم القیام بھ مؤخرا في إیجاد أیة مؤشرات تؤكد وجود النمر العربي في الأردن.‏

Distribution

ong>Leopardong>s were reported as more common

than ong>theong> cheetah by Tristram

(1866, 1888) in many areas ong>ofong> Jordan

ong>andong> Palestine. Ernst Schmitz recorded

five leopards shot near Jerusalem in ong>theong>

first decade ong>ofong> ong>theong> 20 th century (Hardy

1947). Aharoni (1930) reported a leopard

killed between Ramallah ong>andong> Emmaus.

Anoong>theong>r animal was killed on

ong>theong> Palestinian-Lebanese frontier ong>andong>

a cub was secured near Safad, west ong>ofong>

Lake Galilee (Hardy 1947, Qumsiyeh

1996, Qumsiyeh et al. 1993). Hardy

(1947) stated that leopards still inhabited

ong>theong> wadi south ong>ofong> Petra ong>andong> Wadi

Zarqa Ma’en as well as an individual

shot at Ain Ghidyan, north ong>ofong> Aqaba.

Harrison (1968) reported a specimen

shot west ong>ofong> Ma’an. Lehmann (1965)

reported several observations west ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Dead Sea. A leopard was killed

by a Bedouin in Wadi Darajah, in ong>theong>

desert east ong>ofong> ong>theong> Dead Sea in October

1965 (Blake 1966). Clarke (1977)

listed ong>theong> following localities as previous

reports ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard from Jordan;

Petra, Wadi Zarqa Ma’en, Ain el Taba,

Ain Buweirdeh, ong>andong> Ma’an. The latest

report ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard came from an

observation in ong>theong> Tafilah area where it

attacked ong>andong> killed sheep during February

1987 (Amr & Disi 1988, Qumsiyeh

et al. 1993). Figure 1 shows ong>theong>se

localities. Sporadic local reports have

been received since ong>theong>n, possibly referring

to vagrants, but remain unconfirmed.

A field visit by ong>theong> authors in

2005 with local rangers failed to find

any signs ong>ofong> leopard presence.

Amman

Syria

Kingdom

ong>ofong> Jordan

Fig. 1. Former distribution ong>ofong> leopard in Jordan. Presumed former range (green), 1987 record

(yellow dot) ong>andong> historical records (blue dots).

ong>Leopardong>s became rare after ong>theong> turn

ong>ofong> ong>theong> twentieth century ong>andong> by ong>theong> second

half ong>ofong> ong>theong> century it was almost

extinct from Jordan. Major causes ong>ofong>

extinction are habitat loss, hunting ong>andong>

reduced prey availability. Habitat loss

is mainly due to ong>theong> rapid increase in

ong>theong> human population ong>andong> development

projects associated with this

growth. Hunting has been a feature for

millennia for sport ong>andong> out ong>ofong> fear for

man ong>andong> his domestic animals. Most

large-size prey items for ong>theong> leopard

Kingdom

ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia

have become rare, especially in ong>theong>

second half ong>ofong> ong>theong> 20 th century.

Habitat

Three protected areas totaling 1,300

km 2 (Wadi Rum, Dana, ong>andong> Wadi Mujib)

are sited along ong>theong> historical range

ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard, ong>andong> a fourth is proposed.

Prey

Nubian ibex Capra nubiana occur

in Wadi Mujib Wildlife Reserve ong>andong>

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong>


Wadi Rum Protected Area. Mountain

gazelle Gazella gazella is now considered

extinct in Jordan. Historical range

ong>ofong> ong>theong> species is along ong>theong> western

mountain range bordering ong>theong> Rift Valley.

A small number ong>ofong> dorcas gazelles

Gazella dorcas occur in Wadi Araba

ong>andong> Wadi Rum Desert in ong>theong> south ong>ofong>

ong>theong> country. Oong>theong>r possible prey items

inhabiting ong>theong> same historical range ong>ofong>

ong>theong> leopard include rock hyrax Procavia

capensis, ong>andong> Cape hare Lepus

capensis.

Legal ong>Statusong>

ong>Leopardong>s are protected by law. Ibex

ong>andong> all gazelle species are also strictly

protected.

Conflicts ong>andong> Public Awareness

ong>Leopardong>s were hunted for different

reasons. According to interviews with

local people who live in areas where

leopards used to exist, ong>theong> main reason

for hunting was related to ong>theong> social

traditions at that time. A person who

could hunt or kill a leopard would be

acknowledged by ong>theong> tribe as a distinguished

ong>andong> brave man.

In 1999, a local guide from Wadi

Rum showed us a leopard trap, known

locally as margabah (Fig. 2) that was

used by his grong>andong>faong>theong>r to catch leopards.

The trap was made ong>ofong> stones ong>andong>

had two openings. The bait hung from

ong>theong> middle ong>ofong> ong>theong> trap ong>andong> when ong>theong>

leopard tried to take ong>theong> bait, ong>theong> stone

doors ong>ofong> ong>theong> trap closed ong>andong> trapped ong>theong>

leopard inside.

People ong>andong> Institutions

The Royal Society for ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> Nature (RSCN) is responsible for

establishment ong>andong> management ong>ofong> protected

areas, research, cooperation with

international agencies, enforcement ong>ofong>

wildlife protection laws ong>andong> administration

ong>ofong> hunting.

Recommendations

During ong>theong> past couple ong>ofong> years ong>theong>re

Fig. 2. A leopard trap (called margabah by ong>theong> local population) Eastern Desert – Jordan

(Photo M. Qarqaz).

have been rumours ong>ofong> leopards crossing

ong>theong> borders from ong>theong> Saudi side ong>andong>

Palestine, but a recent short field visit

could not confirm ong>theong>se. However, in

one area close to Dana Nature Reserve

in Tafilah, habitats are still relatively

untouched ong>andong> seem to be very suitable

for leopards due to ong>theong> rugged long>andong>scape

ong>andong> presence ong>ofong> wadis ong>andong> rocky

cliffs which might provide very good

shelter ong>andong> forage for leopards. This is

also ong>theong> area where ong>theong> last sighting ong>ofong>

leopards came from. It is recommended

to survey this area thoroughly ong>andong>

place some camera traps if possible.

References:

Aharoni J. 1930. Die Säugetiere Palästinas.

Zeit. Säugetierk. 5, 327-343.

Amr Z. S. ong>andong> Disi A. 1988. Jordanian

mammals acquired by ong>theong> Jordan University

Natural History Museum. Jordan

University Publications, Amman.

Blake I. A. 1966. A leopard in ong>theong> wilderness

ong>ofong> Judea, Jordan. IUCN Bulletin

18, 7.

Clarke J. E. 1977. A preliminary report ong>ofong>

Jordan’s mammals, The Royal Society

for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> Nature, Am-

man.

Hardy E. 1947. The Palestine leopard. Society

for ong>theong> Preservation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Fauna

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Empire 55, 16-20.

Harrison D. L. 1968. The Mammals ong>ofong> Arabia,

Vol II, Ernest Benn Ltd., London.

Qumsiyeh M. B. Mammals ong>ofong> ong>theong> Holy

Long>andong>. Texas Tech Univ. Press, Lubbock.

Qumsiyeh M. B., Amr Z. S. ong>andong> Shafei D.

M. 1993. ong>Statusong> ong>andong> conservation ong>ofong>

carnivores in Jordan. Mammalia, 57,

55-62.

Tristram H. B. 1866. Report on ong>theong> mammals

ong>ofong> Palestine. Proc. Zool. Soc. London,

1866, 84-93.

Tristram H. B. 1888. The Survey ong>ofong> Western

Palestine. The Fauna ong>andong> Flora ong>ofong>

Palestine. Committee ong>ofong> ong>theong> Palestine

Exploration Fund Publishers, London.

von Lehmann E. 1965. Über die Säugetiere

im Waldgebiet NW Syrien. Sitz. Ges.

Nat. Fr. Berlin (N.F.), 5, 22-38.

10 2006


ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Saudi Arabia

Jacky Judas 1 , P. Paillat 1 , A. Khoja 2 & Ahmed Boug 2

1

National Avian Research Center, EAD, PO Box 45553, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

2

National Wildlife Research Center, PO Box 1086 Taif, Saudi Arabia

The historic range ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> presumably extended over a large part ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia. Analysis

ong>ofong> ong>theong> scarce historic ong>andong> recent records suggests that ong>theong> range has decreased by 90 % since ong>theong> beginning

ong>ofong> ong>theong> 19th century, with an annual rate ong>ofong> range loss close to 10 % in ong>theong> last 15 years. During ong>theong> period

1998-2003, 19 reports were recorded, ong>ofong> which only 4 can be confirmed, distributed in 2 main areas. 1) ong>theong>

escarpment ong>ofong> ong>theong> Asir Mountains between Al Baha ong>andong> Abbah (600-2400 m), where high prey density may

still be found near permanent water flows, ong>andong> 2) ong>theong> drier Hijaz Mountains north ong>ofong> Madinah (< 2000 m),

where potential prey density is low. Considering home range sizes ong>andong> densities calculated for oong>theong>r leopard

populations in different ecological contexts, ong>theong> potential population was estimated at 60-425 individuals

in a range ong>ofong> 4000-19,635 km 2 . Population viability analysis projected a mean time for first extinction ong>ofong>

11.3 years from 1998. The decline is mainly attributed to habitat fragmentation ong>andong> degradation ong>andong> direct

persecution. The increase in over-grazing, ong>andong> encroachment into once remote areas by road construction

since ong>theong> 1970s have induced important biodiversity loss affecting ong>theong> whole food chain. Prey availability

has decreased throughout leopard range, which has presumably led ong>theong> leopard to alter its diet towards livestock

ong>andong> oong>theong>r domestic animals. This increases ong>theong> unpopularity ong>ofong> ong>theong> species, ong>andong> persecution by local

people. The leopard is ong>ofong>ficially protected in Saudi Arabia; however, despite ong>theong> high proportion ong>ofong> long>andong>

protection (4.1 % ong>ofong> ong>theong> country), ong>theong>re is an obvious lack ong>ofong> protected areas that encompass ong>theong> leopard’s

remaining range. Recommendations stress ong>theong> need for extensive surveys to update current status ong>andong> distribution

ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>Leopardong>, ong>andong> to develop ex situ ong>andong> in situ conservation programs.



:

.

%90

. %10 .

. . 19 2003-1998

(2400-600 ) (1)

( 2000 ) (2) .

. .

.219.635 -4000 425-60

.1998 11.3


1970


.

. .

. ( %4.1 )


.

ong>Statusong> ong>andong> distribution

Historically, ong>theong> Arabian leopard Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr was probably found

in a large part ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia, excluding

song>andong> dune areas (Nafud, Rub al

Khali). Its range extended all along ong>theong>

mountains bordering ong>theong> Red Sea coast,

from ong>theong> Jordan border in ong>theong> north to

Yemen in ong>theong> south (Gasperetti et al.

1985, Harrison & Bates 1991). Early

travelers on ong>theong> pilgrimage route to

Mecca (Lady Anne Blunt 1881, Doughty

1888, Carruong>theong>rs 1909) reported its

presence inlong>andong> in ong>theong> Hail area ong>andong> a

review ong>ofong> ong>theong> Saudi toponymy (site names

composed ong>ofong> “nimr”) suggested

that its distribution could have extended

inlong>andong> as far east as ong>theong> Riyadh region.

The Arabian leopard may currently

be found in only small isolated populations

in remote ong>andong> rugged areas ong>ofong> ong>theong>

western Sarawat ong>andong> Hijaz Mountains.

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 11


edge ong>ofong> ong>theong> distribution range (Brown

1984, Caughley et al. 1988), ong>theong> potential

leopard population in 1998 was

estimated to range between 60 ong>andong> 425

individuals. Based on ong>theong> distribution

ranges estimated for different periods

(Judas et al. 2004), ong>theong> leopard’s range

has decreased by around 90 % since ong>theong>

beginning ong>ofong> ong>theong> 19 th century with an

annual rate ong>ofong> range loss close to 10%

in ong>theong> last 15 years. With such a rate ong>ofong>

decrease, ong>theong> potential population size

in 2004 could range between 16 ong>andong> 111

individuals for ong>theong> whole ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia.

Population viability analyses using

Vortex 8.42 (Lacy et al. 2001) projected

a mean time to first extinction ong>ofong> 11.3

years as from 1998, that is, two years

from now.

Fig. 1. Distribution change ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Saudi Arabia from ong>theong> beginning ong>ofong> ong>theong>

19th century to 1998. Light yellow: distribution at ong>theong> beginning ong>ofong> ong>theong> 19th century; middle

yellow: distribution in 1988; dark yellow: distribution in 1998. Green stars confirmed presence

in 1998, red dots unconfirmed presence in 1998.

In this study, during ong>theong> period 1998 to

2003, leopards were reported from 19

locations, ong>ofong> which 4 can be considered

confirmed (Appendix I). Fourteen ong>ofong>

ong>theong>se locations are distributed in 2 main

areas, whereas ong>theong> oong>theong>r 5 are isolated,

single reports (Fig. 1). The most important

area, in number ong>ofong> reports ong>andong> size,

is located in ong>theong> Asir Mountains (Fig. 2)

between Al Baha ong>andong> Abha along a large

steep escarpment, about 250 km long

ong>andong> 20–30 km wide. At 3 locations (Jibal

Shada, Al Atifa ong>andong> Wadi Khatayn),

presence ong>ofong> ong>theong> species was confirmed

by killings, several reports ong>ofong> sightings

from different witnesses, livestock

killed, ong>andong> presence ong>ofong> tracks ong>andong> signs.

The most recent record was obtained in

Wadi Khatayn (south ong>ofong> Biljurashi) in

2002. However, camera traps deployed

in ong>theong> area during 2002 ong>andong> 2003 failed

to obtain pictures ong>ofong> leopards. The second

most important area is located

near Al Wahj, north ong>ofong> Madinah, in ong>theong>

Hijaz Mountains. In spite ong>ofong> several reports

ong>ofong> ong>theong> presence ong>ofong> leopards here,

none could be clearly confirmed. A recent

survey (Budd 1999) did not produce

any more evidence, although leopard

presence was strongly suspected. Four

ong>ofong> ong>theong> isolated locations, 3 in ong>theong> Asir

mountains ong>andong> 1 near Jebel Nahr (Hijaz

mountains), could also not be confirmed

(R. Ajaj, pers. comm.). The fifth location

(P. Paillat, pers. comm.) in Samtah

near ong>theong> Yemen border was documented

in 1999 with pictures ong>ofong> 2 individual leopards

killed.

A survey conducted between 1996

ong>andong> 2002, based on enquiries among

local shepherds ong>andong> hunters, listed 65

sightings ong>ofong> leopards at 42 sites (Al-

Johany 2007) mainly distributed in ong>theong>

Hijaz mountains (around Madinah ong>andong>

Al-Ula) ong>andong> secondarily along ong>theong> Asir

mountains. These unconfirmed records

largely overlapped ong>theong> possible range

assessed for ong>theong> period 1990-2005 in

this status review.

The total potential range in 1998 was

estimated to cover between 4,000 km 2

(considering only ong>theong> 4 confirmed locations)

ong>andong> 29,724 km 2 (all locations),

with 19,635 km 2 ong>andong> 10,089 km 2 in ong>theong>

Asir ong>andong> Hijaz mountains respectively

(see Judas et al. 2004 for details ong>ofong> ong>theong>

analysis). Comparing ecological studies

ong>ofong> leopard conducted in areas ong>ofong>

Africa with comparable rainfall (Bothma

& Le Riche 1984, Stong>andong>er et al.

1997), with preliminary results ong>ofong> radiotracked

leopards in Oman (A. Spalton,

pers. comm.), ong>andong> considering a likely

gradual fall-ong>ofong>f in density towards ong>theong>

Threats

The decrease in Arabian leopard populations

is mainly due to habitat fragmentation,

habitat degradation ong>andong> direct

persecution. In Saudi Arabia, habitat

loss began several centuries ago with

tree cutting to meet ong>theong> wood demong>andong>s

ong>ofong> growing iron ong>andong> copper industries

(Collenette 1999). This was already largely

developed by ong>theong> 16 th century. Tree

cutting ong>andong> deforestation still occur in

ong>theong> souong>theong>rn Hijaz Mountains for charcoal

production, an important local industry

(Biquong>andong> et al. 1990). In ong>theong> last

twenty years, government policy has

encouraged ong>theong> expansion ong>ofong> pastoralism

ong>andong> agricultural intensification so

as to achieve national self-sufficiency in

ong>theong> production ong>ofong> meat ong>andong> agricultural

products. Construction ong>ofong> new tracks

ong>andong> roads in ong>theong> escarpment has enabled

encroachment into once remote areas.

Considerable development ong>ofong> highways

occurred between 1985 ong>andong> 1990 (Gasperetti

& Jackson 1990). Along ong>theong>se

new access roads, unplanned ong>andong> uncontrolled

urban development has been

taking place without any Environmental

Impact Assessment ong>andong>/or management

plan. Rehabilitation ong>andong> irrigation ong>ofong>

terraces ong>andong> water supplies with tanks

allowed oong>theong>rwise unsustainable development

ong>andong> intensified encroachment

upon natural habitats.

The diversity, abundance ong>andong> distribution

ong>ofong> leopard prey species are declining

all over ong>theong> Kingdom, alongside

habitat loss. Abundant ong>andong> well distributed

in former times, gazelles ong>andong> ibex

12 2006


Fig. 2. Presence ong>ofong> leopards is still reported around Jebel Khurs in ong>theong> Asir Mountains (Al

Baha area; Photo J. Judas).

have been extirpated from many areas,

ong>andong> remaining populations reduced to

a few individuals by over-hunting. Widespread

use ong>ofong> firearms has intensified

ong>theong> process. Where gazelles ong>andong> ibex

still occur, hunting parties are regularly

organised during ong>theong> summer (e.g. at

Al Fiqrah, Biquong>andong> et al. 1990). Hyrax,

thought to be an important part ong>ofong> ong>theong>

leopard’s diet, is also heavily hunted.

Even if ong>theong> species still appears to be

well distributed within ong>theong> Asir Mountains,

high hunting pressure will undoubtedly

reduce ong>theong>ir abundance significantly.

Overgrazing by goats, sheep,

camels ong>andong> feral donkeys increased in

ong>theong> 1970s, ong>andong> contributed significantly

to biodiversity loss. Excessive use

ong>ofong> vegetation reduced plant diversity,

which, in turn, affects ong>theong> whole food

chain from primary producers to top

predators.

Direct persecution, through pursuit

ong>ofong> trophies or oong>theong>r products, ong>andong>

livestock protection, is ong>theong> third important

threat weighing on ong>theong> leopard

population’s fate. Sport hunting is a

common practice in Saudi Arabia. ong>Leopardong>s

do not ong>ofong>ten appear to be ong>theong>

sought-after game, but are recognized

as valuable hunting trophies that honour

ong>theong> bravery ong>ofong> ong>theong> hunter (Seddon

1996). In ong>theong> same way, Bedus who

killed animals such as wolf, caracal,

hyena, baboon ong>andong> leopard in wadis

around ong>theong>ir camp hung ong>theong>m on trees at

ong>theong> roadside, presumably as a demonstration

ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir skill. However, many

killings ong>ofong> leopards can be attributed to

livestock protection. When preying on

goats, sheep, young camels or oong>theong>r domestic

animals, leopards interfere with

human activities ong>andong> are seen as direct

competitors (Nader 1996). With ong>theong>

decrease ong>ofong> natural prey species, ong>theong>y

have no choice but to alter ong>theong>ir diet to

livestock, which increases ong>theong>ir unpopularity.

In most cases, ong>theong>y are also considered

as a threat to humans. As a result,

leopards are hunted in all ong>theong>ir range

(Biquong>andong> & Boug 1989) using different

methods. Poisoning was common in ong>theong>

1980s, when ong>theong> Ministry ong>ofong> Agriculture

distributed free anticoagulant rat killer.

This poison was mixed with crushed

glass ong>andong> metal particles to induce internal

haemorrhage (Biquong>andong> et al. 1990,

Biquong>andong> & Boug 1992). This practice

seems to have stopped around 1985, unlike

trapping. Old fashioned rock traps

were largely used in ong>theong> past. ong>Leopardong>s

caught in such traps, or walled in ong>theong>ir

lair with stone ong>andong> cement, were left to

starve to death or to reach a weak condition,

ong>theong>n killed (Gasperetti et al. 1985).

Rock traps are no longer used, but have

been replaced by metal cage traps that

are easy to carry ong>andong> move in ong>theong> field,

baited with goat meat. Shooting ong>andong>

poisoning were considered as ong>theong> main

causes ong>ofong> decline by Nader (1989).

Recognition by local people that

wildlife can represent a source ong>ofong> prong>ofong>it

also prompts ong>theong>m to kill or catch leopards.

As long as benefits were fairly

low, leopard remains were presumably

sold as extra income ong>andong> leopards were

not killed specifically for this purpose.

The fat was collected ong>andong> sold for medicinal

purposes (Nader 1996). Skins

ong>andong> teeth were available in ong>theong> souk ong>ofong>

Khamis Mushayt in 1985. The skin was

sold for US$ 270. In 1994, ong>theong> National

Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC) was

informed that a skin was for sale in Abu

Dhabi market for US$ 15,000. In 1997,

one live leopard was sold at auction for

US$ 4,800 in Al Khawbah market near

ong>theong> Yemen border. A live leopard can be

sold for up to US$ 50,000. Existence ong>ofong>

a market for live animals (Fig. 3) with

increasing prices eases ong>theong> development

ong>ofong> traffic. One young female was sold on

ong>theong> black market from Yemen to Saudi

Arabia in April 2001; two oong>theong>r animals

coming from Yemen were sold in Saudi

Arabia in summer 2001. The different

threats weighing on leopard survival

are strongly interrelated ong>andong> can only be

solved if tackled in ong>theong>ir entirety.

Habitat

ong>Leopardong>s in Saudi Arabia are now confined

to remote ong>andong> rugged areas ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Sarawat Mountains, shared between

ong>theong> Hijaz in ong>theong> north ong>andong> ong>theong> Asir in

ong>theong> south. The Hijaz mountains consist

ong>ofong> a broken chain that rarely exceeds

2,000m a.s.l. ong>andong> receives very

little rainfall (


also provides a legal framework since

hunting ong>andong> wood cutting are prohibited

inside ong>theong>m. Sixteen Protected Areas

have been created so far, mainly terrestrial,

covering 90,017 km 2 , i.e. 4.1 % ong>ofong>

ong>theong> country’s area. However, ong>theong> former

presence ong>ofong> leopards has only been revealed

in Raydah ong>andong> Jebel Shadah, covering

9 km 2 ong>andong> 50 km 2 respectively.

Fig. 3. Sacred baboon Papio hamadryas, potential prey ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard, caught in a trap set by

local people to catch leopard in wadi Khatan. Illegal trapping represents an important threat

on ong>theong> species in Saudi Arabia (Photo J. Judas).

boulders (Jabal Shadah, Wadi Oshar,

Fig. 4). These areas ong>ofong>fer suitable shelter

ong>andong> shade, such as caves ong>andong> tree cover

that leopards need (Kingdon 1997). In

Al Atifa area, ong>theong>y use steep rocky slopes

half way up ong>theong> escarpment, where

a network ong>ofong> caves has formed under

huge rocks fallen from ong>theong> cliffs. The

valley beds at ong>theong> foot ong>ofong> ong>theong> escarpment

are generally densely wooded with tree

species reaching 10-12 m in height

(Ziziphus, Ficus). Despite ong>theong> fact that

higher elevations ong>ofong> ong>theong> Asir mountains

(>2,000 m, south ong>ofong> Al Baha) can receive

a considerable amount ong>ofong> rainfall

(>500 mm/year), permanent waterholes

or rivers are rare. It has been suggested

that ong>theong> presence ong>ofong> permanent water

all year long could be a typical habitat

requirement ong>ofong> leopard (Edmonds

et al. 2002, Harrison & Bates 1991).

However, ong>theong> presence ong>ofong> water where

leopards still occur could be ong>theong> result

ong>ofong> range reduction raong>theong>r than a necessary

condition. ong>Leopardong>s will drink every

day when possible, but can survive

without water for months (Haltenorth &

Diller 1985). Permanent water promotes

development ong>ofong> rich vegetation ong>andong>

so higher food availability at all food

chain levels, which would favor leopard

existence. In Wadi Khatayn ong>andong> Wadi

Oshar, south ong>ofong> Biljurashi, a permanent

river, which allows ong>theong> development ong>ofong>

a rich wildlife ong>andong> potential prey, appear

to be particularly favorable for leopards.

Narrow gorges with evergreen vegetation

(Phoenix reclinata palm trees, ong>andong>

ong>theong> rare Mimops angustifolia) contain

waterholes up to mid-summer ong>andong> many

fresh ong>andong> shaded rocky crevices. Moreover,

ong>theong> remoteness ong>ofong> ong>theong>se sites limits

human disturbance.

Protected Areas

Historically, Saudi Arabia has a long local

community-based tradition ong>ofong> control

ong>andong> use ong>ofong> natural resources through

ong>theong> “hima” system (Evans 1994). For

example, ong>theong> Hima Al Fiqrah, where

leopards could presumably still survive,

ensured habitat protection in order to

maintain traditional honey production

(Biquong>andong> et al. 1990). No grazing was

allowed, except for a few local livestock.

However, this system is increasingly

neglected in ong>theong> whole Kingdom

due to population growth ong>andong> spread

associated with transport ong>ofong> water ong>andong>

livestock fodder.

Since 1986, Saudi Protected Areas,

established following IUCN criteria, are

managed by ong>theong> National Commission

for Wildlife ong>Conservationong> ong>andong> Development

(NCWCD) in Riyadh. Emphasis is

given to in situ conservation which aims

to maintain ong>andong> recover viable populations

ong>ofong> wild species in nature within

ong>theong>ir known natural range (Abuzinada

2003). This system ong>ofong> protected areas

Prey species

The diet ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> has never

been studied in Saudi Arabia. Scat

analyses in similar habitats ong>ofong> Oman

(Muir-Wright 1999) showed that ong>theong>

main prey species were, in order ong>ofong> importance,

ong>theong> Arabian gazelle Gazella

gazella, Nubian ibex Capra ibex, Cape

hare Lepus capensis, rock hyrax Procavia

capensis, bird species, porcupine

Hystrix indica, Ethiopian hedgehog Paraechinus

aethiopicus, small rodents ong>andong>

insects. In Palestine, ong>theong> diet was mainly

composed ong>ofong> hyrax ong>andong> ibex (90 %)

ong>andong> porcupines (5 %; Ilany 1990). In

Saudi Arabia, Child & Grainger (1990)

also suggested that diet could be mainly

composed ong>ofong> hyrax ong>andong> similar size

prey. Nubian ibex ong>andong> gazelles could

have been an important part ong>ofong> ong>theong> diet

ong>ofong> leopards in ong>theong> past, but nowadays,

ong>theong> distribution range ong>ofong> ong>theong>se ungulates

is reduced to small isolated populations.

In order to survive, leopards have no

choice but to alter ong>theong>ir diet according

to prey availability. Hyrax are still quite

common in ong>theong> western part ong>ofong> ong>theong> kingdom,

ong>andong> leopards in parts ong>ofong> Africa

have been shown to prey mainly on this

species (Stuart & Stuart 1995). Wheong>theong>r

or not predation on primates occurs in

ong>theong> Asir Mountains is debatable. Broken

skulls ong>ofong> sacred baboons Papio hamadryas

discovered under rock shelters

ong>ofong> Wadi Khatayn (South ong>ofong> Al Baha) indicate

that predation does occur, but ong>theong>

predator has not been clearly identified.

Kummer et al. (1981) suggested that

predation upon monkeys is presumably

rare, whereas recent changes in baboon

ranging habits have been attributed to

leopard population change (Biquong>andong> et

al. 1989). If ong>theong>y do occur, attacks on

baboons should be at night when ong>theong>y

are asleep among rocks (Shortridge

1934 cited in Kingdon 1977). Since leopards

are known to be an opportunistic

predator, we can suppose that ong>theong>y will

also prey upon species like partridges

14 2006


(Ammoperdix heyi, Alectoris melanocephala

ong>andong> A. philbyi), porcupines, hares

ong>andong> even fishes, frogs ong>andong> turtles that are

still abundant in some places. Neverong>theong>less,

following ong>theong> general decrease ong>ofong>

wildlife populations ong>andong> reduction in

natural habitat, leopards have also shifted

ong>theong>ir diet towards domestic animals

(Fig. 5) that are a much easier prey to

catch. Predation upon goats, sheep,

young camels ong>andong> feral donkeys has

been reported (Biquong>andong> 1989, Biquong>andong>

& Boug 1992). ong>Leopardong>s may also prey

on domestic dogs at night around or

even inside camps. ong>Leopardong>s may sometimes

scavenge. A local Bedu mentioned

a leopard briefly seen at night in

headlights, fleeing from ong>theong> carcass ong>ofong>

a mammal that had been hit by a car on

ong>theong> Biljurashi escarpment.

Domestic animals

Livestock production is widely distributed

all over ong>theong> kingdom. Mixed

herds ong>ofong> sheep ong>andong> goats may number

up to 500, but are more ong>ofong>ten in ong>theong> order

ong>ofong> 200 in open areas ong>andong> around 100

in rugged areas. Grazing systems are

extensive. Herds are left all day long to

graze in natural vegetation patches ong>andong>

taken by shepherds between ong>theong>se patches,

sometimes helped by sheepdogs.

In ong>theong> mountains ong>theong>y used to move

along slopes ong>ofong> wadis. However, herds

do not spend ong>theong> night alone on ong>theong> field

anymore, but return to ong>theong> camp, where

ong>theong>y receive additional fodder like alfalfa.

More than 40 years ago, people used

to spend ong>theong> night in ong>theong> mountains ong>andong>

put ong>theong> lambs into small stone corrals to

protect ong>theong>m from predators (leopards,

caracals, hyenas or wolves) or to prevent

ong>theong>m suckling so as to be able to

milk ewes more efficiently. Grazing rotations

are walked on a daily basis, but

also depend on seasons ong>andong> green vegetation

patches that are highly variable in

ong>theong> arid environment. The grazing range

ong>ofong> a herd used to be limited by daily walking

distances. However, development

ong>ofong> roads made new temporary settlements

possible in previously remote

areas. Movement ong>ofong> herds is assisted by

trucks ong>andong> ong>theong> expense is supported by

ong>theong> government (Nasser & Esber 1995).

In many cases, Saudi livestock owners

have oong>theong>r income as well as keeping

livestock ong>andong> let ong>theong> control ong>ofong> flocks to

Sudanese or Ethiopian shepherds.

Fig. 4. Wadi Khatan near Biljurashi. Granite boulder rocks interspersed by densely vegetated

riverbeds represent a typical leopard habitat in ong>theong> escarpment ong>ofong> ong>theong> Asir Mountains (Photo

J. Judas).

Legal ong>Statusong>

Arabian leopard is classified as Critically

Endangered in ong>theong> IUCN Red

List, ong>andong> listed in CITES Appendix I.

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)

agreement endorsed in December 2001

included ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in its policies

ong>ofong> cross border conservation. In

Saudi Arabia, hunting is restricted under

ong>theong> National Hunting Law, Decree

No M/26 dated 25/5/1398 (2/5/1978)

ong>andong> decree No 457 dated 13/3/1399

(10/2/1979). Decree No M/22 from

1986 sets out NCWCD’s ong>ofong>ficial remit

for protected areas, ong>andong> Decree No 128

from 1995 concerns regulations governing

a “Wildlife Protected Areas System”

including selection, establishment

ong>andong> management ong>ofong> wildlife protected

areas (Seddon 1996). All forms ong>ofong> hunting

are ong>ofong>ficially prohibited in Protected

Areas managed by NCWCD, but ong>theong>

presence ong>ofong> leopards has been attested

from only 2 ong>ofong> ong>theong>m. A Wild Animals

ong>andong> Birds Hunting Act, an Act on ong>theong>

Trade in Endangered Wildlife Species

ong>andong> ong>theong>ir Products, ong>andong> an Environmental

Code have been promulgated in

1999, 2000 ong>andong> 2002, respectively (Mésochina,

pers. comm.).

Conflicts ong>andong> Public awareness

The public awareness programme aims

to induct a conservation ethic in farmers

ong>andong> ong>theong> public. Contacts are established

with local people, but on an irregular

basis. NCWCD has produced posters

on threatened animals ong>ofong> ong>theong> kingdom,

that are not specifically designed for ong>theong>

leopard conservation, but that include

ong>theong> species. NCWCD has developed a

training centre where people (rangers,

teachers etc) from Saudi Arabia or ong>theong>

oong>theong>r Gulf States can receive information

ong>andong> training on environmental monitoring,

environmental management,

ong>andong> techniques ong>ofong> field study. A stuffed

leopard is on display in ong>theong> Natural History

Museum at NCWCD. NWRC has

produced two short video reports in relation

to leopard conservation.

People ong>andong> institutions

Three organisations are involved in leopard

conservation in Saudi Arabia:

• The National Commission for Wildlife

ong>Conservationong> ong>andong> Development (NCW-

CD) is a governmental agency, directed

by Prong>ofong>. Dr. A. Abuzinada, established

in Riyadh in 1986 by Royal Decree No.

M/22 ong>andong> which has ong>theong> mong>andong>ate to “Develop

ong>andong> implement plans to preserve

Wildlife in its natural ecology”. The

NCWCD has created two committees:

The Carnivore Advisory Group (CAG)

under ong>theong> chairman ong>ofong> Dr. I. Nader ong>andong>

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 15


Table 1. Origin ong>ofong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>s acquired by ong>theong> NWRC

Studbook

reference

Micro-chip Name Origin Place ong>ofong> capture Event Date

stdbk #20 00-0070-012E Rachid wild Wadi Oshar (ev. Yemen) 16.05.97 ~1996 M 10

transfer to Sharjah 06.05.03

stdbk #23 00-0070-02DF Al-Jezira wild Yemen (Wa‘ada) 22.07.98 ~1995 M 11- 12

transfer to Sharjah 20.11.00

return to Taïf 05.05.03

stdbk #28 00-01C70FD6 Lina captive BCEAW birth 18.01.00 18.01.00 F 7

Birth

date

transfer fo NWRC 30.04.06

stdbk #30 00-0070-06E7 Aicha wild 28.04.00 Feb-99 F 8

stdbk #46 00-01CD-B059 Kadeeja wild 22.04.01 ~1991 F 16

transfer to Sharjah 06.05.03

stdbk #49 00-01CE-3DE4 Samtah wild Jizan area (ev. Yemen) 21.05.02 ~1999 F 8

transfer to Sharjah 30.04.06

stbk #57 00-060D-561D Morkel captive BCEAW birth 16.05.03 16.05.03 M 3

transfer to NWRC 30.04.06

Sex

Age

(years)

supervision ong>ofong> ong>theong> secretary General ong>ofong>

NCWCD, Prong>ofong>. Dr. A. Abuzinada, ong>andong>

The Arabian ong>Leopardong> Working group,

constituted on 7 January 1996.

• The National Wildlife Research Centre

(NWRC), created in 1988 in Taif, is

in charge ong>ofong> captive breeding ong>andong> reintroduction

ong>ofong> viable populations ong>ofong> houbara

bustard ong>andong> Arabian oryx in Saudi

Arabia. A programme ong>ofong> leopard captive

breeding (Fig. 6) ong>andong> field investigations

has been initiated. An Arabian

ong>Leopardong> Captive Breeding Working

Group (ALCBWG) has been created in

relation with NCWCD.

• The King Khaled Wildlife Research

Centre (KKWRC) located in Tumamah,

30 km north-west from Riyadh, is mainly

involved in conservation ong>andong> captive

breeding ong>ofong> gazelles ong>andong> ibex. Genetic

analyses ong>ofong> leopard samples have been

initiated.

Ongoing work

ong>Conservationong> strategy

On 26 February 2001, ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Working Group ong>ofong> ong>theong> NCWCD

defined a conservation strategy ong>andong> recognized

that in situ conservation was

ong>theong> most appropriate means ong>ofong> protecting

ong>theong> species, ong>andong> ex situ captive

breeding will provide a genetic backup

ong>ofong> ong>theong> gene pool (Joubert 2001).

Captive breeding

Four individuals are currently kept in

NWRC ong>andong> three have been loaned for

breeding purpose to ong>theong> Breeding Centre

for Endangered Arabian Wildlife,

Sharjah. In order to develop ong>theong> captive

breeding programme in NWRC, new

facilities are under construction with

private funds received from Prince Faysal

bin Saud bin Mohammed al Saud.

Construction ong>ofong> three such breeding

units, totalling 9 separate cages, has

been planned over 5 years as well as ong>theong>

setting up ong>ofong> a natural enclosure to rear

captive-bred young in semi-captivity.

Genetic analyses

Genetic analyses have been initiated in

1998 in KKWRC with ong>theong> aim ong>ofong> clarifying

ong>theong> taxonomic status ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

subspecies P. p. nimr (Hammond

et al. 1997). In 2000, 101 samples from

13 ong>ofong> ong>theong> 27 subspecies have been collected,

most ong>ofong> ong>theong>m from specimens in

ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. First analyses

focused on DNA sequencing by PCR

amplification (Winney et al. 1999).

Analyses were stopped through technical

problems ong>andong> lack ong>ofong> funding.

Fig. 5. Goat killed by a leopard in wadi Khatan. The increasing rarity ong>ofong> typical prey species

forces leopards to prey more ong>andong> more ong>ofong>ten on livestock, which reinforces conflict with local

human populations (Photo J. Judas).

Field surveys

NWRC staff promptly visit places where

signs ong>ofong> presence are reported. Field

surveys ong>andong> camera-trapping were con-

16 2006


ducted in 2002 ong>andong> 2003 in Wadi Oshar

(down to Biljurashi escarpment, south

ong>ofong> Al Baha), where sightings ong>andong> signs

ong>ofong> activity have recently been reported.

Two infra-red camera traps, on loan

from BCEAW, were installed from April

5 to June 8, 2002 ong>andong> 3 from March 7 to

May 31, 2003, totalling 338 trap nights

ong>andong> allowing us to obtain 396 pictures.

Unfortunately, no pictures ong>ofong> leopards

were obtained.

Recommendations

Field investigations ong>andong> ecological study

Updating ong>theong> status ong>andong> distribution

based on extensive surveys ong>ofong> remaining

wild populations needs to be urgently

undertaken. All potentially suitable sites

have to be investigated. Areas where ong>theong>

presence ong>ofong> leopards has recently been

reported should be targeted as priority

sites for conservation.

Efficiency ong>ofong> conservation programmes

ong>andong> population management would

be greatly improved with accurate

knowledge ong>ofong> ong>theong> ecology ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

subspecies. Field surveys should

firstly focus on population assessment

using ong>theong> camera trapping technique,

which appears to be efficient for leopard

surveys in Oman. A second step would

be to gaong>theong>r information on ong>theong> number

ong>ofong> individuals per sub-population, to determine

range use pattern, home range

size, activity pattern, habitat requirements,

food requirement (prey species),

prey availability, relation predator-prey

(such as seasonal movements ong>ofong> ibex

ong>andong> gazelles), competition with oong>theong>r

predators (caracal, hyena, wolf), conflict

with man.

The proper organization ong>ofong> ecological

studies would require ong>theong> full time

appointment ong>ofong> at least one PhD student

ong>andong>/or one researcher ong>andong> a team

ong>ofong> field workers with appropriate funding.

Important material means should

be available to capture ong>andong> mark wild

animals, ong>andong> conduct radio-tracking or

satellite-tracking studies.

To assure long term survival ong>ofong> ong>theong>

wild populations, population viability

analysis should be developed to project

populations trends with regularly updated

data. This would require:

• an understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> population dynamics;

• study ong>ofong> dispersal rates ong>andong> quantify

movements between populations;

Fig. 6. ong>Leopardong>’s accommodation in ong>theong> National Wildlife Research Center – Taif, Saudi

Arabia (Photo O. Couppey - NWRC, Taif).

• establishment ong>ofong> long-term monitoring

with regular periodic surveys

(camera trapping);

• assessment ong>ofong> ong>theong> gene pool by determining

genetic identity from blood

ong>andong> scats (DNA microsatellite mapping).

Socio-economic survey

Socio-economic surveys should assess

ong>theong> effect ong>ofong> leopard predation on livestock

(number, species killed ong>andong> economic

cost). Compensation measures

for kills ong>ofong> domestic animals should be

examined, including solutions for proper

identification ong>ofong> ong>theong> causes ong>ofong> death,

ong>andong> for regular fundraising. Human activities

in areas used by leopards, need

to be described ong>andong> quantified to modify

ong>theong> conservation plan.

In situ conservation: Protected Areas

Presence ong>ofong> leopards has been reported

in only 2 protected areas, both too small

to provide any efficient conservation.

New key sites have to be identified ong>andong>

secured through establishment ong>ofong> new

protected areas in order to assure viability

ong>ofong> ong>theong> last remaining populations. In

ong>theong> actual state ong>ofong> knowledge, we suggest

concentrating conservation efforts

on ong>theong> Biljurashi escarpment, between

Al Mikwah ong>andong> Nimrah, from where

ong>theong> most recent records come, as well

as Al Atifah area. Several areas (Wadi

Aleb, Jibal Bani Yub, north ong>ofong> Badr,

Himat Al Fiqrah) already mentioned

as potential sites for leopard conservation

(Child & Grainger 1990), should

receive particular attention. Minimum

critical size ong>andong> management plans ong>ofong>

Protected Areas have to be carefully

considered (see Judas et al. 2004 for

suggestions). As a furong>theong>r step, potential

sites for reintroduction, population reinforcement

or translocation would have

to be identified, if requested, according

to ong>theong> updated results ong>ofong> population status

ong>andong> distribution.

Ex situ conservation: Captive breeding

Captive breeding facilities in NWRC

are currently too small to develop a

captive breeding ong>andong> reintroduction

programme. New facilities with a large

enclosed area are on ong>theong> way to being

implemented. This would allow us to

capture remaining individuals for captive

breeding ong>andong> release purposes, if ong>theong>

population is thought not to be no longer

viable. A structure or company able

to help ong>theong> NWRC has to be identified

(Espie & Bertschinger 2001) ong>andong> financial

funding should be planned to assure

ong>theong> construction ong>ofong> facilities ong>andong> ong>theong>

functioning ong>ofong> ong>theong> project (food, veterinary

care, researchers, technicians ong>andong>

labourers, staff training, materials). The

captive breeding structure can generate

some funds, through opening to visitors

or by stimulating private sponsors. Captive

breeding could also contribute to

development ong>ofong> a genetic fingerprinting

method for individual identification ong>andong>

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 17


Fig. 7. Arabian leopard Rashid from ong>theong> National Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC) in

Ta’if, Saudi Arabia on breeding loan in ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah, UAE (Photo J. Edmonds).

scat analysis ong>ofong> hairs for prey identification,

to collect ong>andong> freeze semen for

genetic management ong>ofong> captive animals

ong>andong> conservation ong>ofong> genetic diversity,

ong>andong> to improve knowledge ong>ofong> reproduction,

physiology, pathology, behaviour

in captivity (Suong>theong>rlong>andong> 1998, Joubert

2001).

Political support

Numerous efforts should be made at ong>theong>

political level to reinforce legislation,

to create mechanisms ong>ofong> policy implementation

ong>andong> fund raising. All national

institutions involved in long>andong> management

or whose activities affect leopard

conservation, have to be approached,

cooperative actions reinforced ong>andong> information

exchange increased. ong>Leopardong>

conservation in Saudi Arabia also requires

ong>theong> support ong>ofong> international institutions

or NGOs to intercede with local

communities.

Public awareness

Public awareness programs have to be

initiated ong>andong> developed in “leopard areas”,

to involve local people in a clearly

defined strategy. Brochures mentioning

ong>theong> high conservation prong>ofong>ile ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

leopard, its CITES position, hunting

laws in force ong>andong> penalties, could

be distributed in schools, police stations,

ong>andong> shops. Development ong>ofong> ong>theong> captive

breeding programme could be used to

make ong>theong> Saudi public aware ong>ofong> leopard

conservation, ong>andong> to collect funds.

Management plan & long term conservation

strategy

A management plan should include

benefits for local communities with replacement

ong>ofong> activities that disrupt ecological

processes by oong>theong>rs that preserve

habitats or restore ong>theong>m. Trade-ong>ofong>f between

social, economic ong>andong> ecological

interests is necessary. Protected Area

management should involve local people

by creating a consultative committee

ong>ofong> local representatives for bottom-up

regulation in harmony with top-down

ones. The socio-economic importance

ong>ofong> biodiversity has to be assessed to define

a national programme ong>ofong> sustainable

rural development (Child 2003). This

should include maintenance ong>ofong> ecological

productivity, a principle underlying

all sustainable management plans. Efficiency

ong>ofong> implemented measures has to

be controlled (adaptive management).

Animals in captivity

Seven leopards have been acquired by

ong>theong> NWRC during ong>theong> last 7 years (Table

1). Four are currently kept in NWRC,

ong>andong> three have been loaned to BCEAW

in Sharjah (Fig. 7).

References

Abuzinada A. H. 2003. The role ong>ofong> protected

areas in conserving biological diversity

in ong>theong> kingdom ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia. Journal

ong>ofong> Arid Environments 54, 39-45.

Al-Johany A. M. H. 2007. Distribution ong>andong>

conservation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr in Saudi Arabia. Journal

ong>ofong> Arid Environments 68, 20-30.

Biquong>andong> S. ong>andong> Boug A. 1989. Protection

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Saudi Arabia.

Unpublished report, NWRC, Taif.

Biquong>andong> S., Biquong>andong>-Guyot V. ong>andong> Boug,

A. 1989. Study on Papio hamadryas in

Saudi Arabia. The problem ong>ofong> commensalisms.

Report, NWRC, Taif, 284 pp.

Biquong>andong> S., Boug A. ong>andong> Gaucher P. 1990.

Field reconnaissance survey ong>ofong> souong>theong>rn

Hijaz. Report, NWRC, Taif, 37 pp.

Biquong>andong> S. ong>andong> Boug A. 1992. An update ong>ofong>

leopard status in Al Fiqrah ong>andong> recommendations

for immediate action. Report,

NWRC, Taif. 4 pp.

Blunt A. 1881. A pilgrimage to Nejd. London

(1986). 2 vols. (cited in Nader 1996)

Bothma J. du P. ong>andong> Le Riche E. A. N. 1984.

Aspects ong>ofong> ong>theong> ecology ong>andong> ong>theong> behaviour

ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>Leopardong> Panong>theong>ra pardus in ong>theong>

Kalahari desert. Koedoe (suppl.), 259-

279.

Brown J. H. 1984. On ong>theong> relationship between

abundance ong>andong> distribution ong>ofong> species.

American Naturalist 124, 255-279.

Budd K. 1999. Short survey on ong>theong> Arabian

ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Kingdom ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia.

Report, BCEAW Sharjah – NWRC

Taif, 9 pp.

Carruong>theong>rs D. 1909. Big game ong>ofong> Syria, Palestine

ong>andong> Sinai. The Field, London 114,

1135-1136.

Caughley G., Grice D., Barker R. ong>andong> Brown

B. 1984. The edge ong>ofong> ong>theong> range. Journal

ong>ofong> Animal Ecology 57, 771-785.

Child G. ong>andong> Grainger J. 1990. A system plan

for protected areas for wildlife conservation

ong>andong> sustainable rural development in

Saudi Arabia. NCWCD – IUCN.

Child G. 2003. Setting ong>andong> achieving objectives

for conserving biological diversity

in arid environments. Journal ong>ofong> Arid Environments

54, 47-54.

Collenette S. 1999. Wildflowers ong>ofong> Saudi

Arabia. NCWCD, Riyadh.

Doughty C. M. 1888. Travels in Arabia Deserta.

2 Vols. Cambridge Univ. Press.

Edmonds J. A., Budd K. J. ong>andong> Gross C.

2002. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr in ong>theong> United Arab

Emirates. Report, BCEAW, Sharjah.

Espie I. W. ong>andong> Bertschinger H. 2001. Suggestions

for ong>theong> enclosure design for ong>theong>

captive breeding ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

at NWRC, Saudi Arabia. 7 pp.

Evans I. 1995. Important bird areas in ong>theong>

Middle East. Birdlife ong>Conservationong> Se-

18 2006


ies No.2. Birdlife International, Cambridge,

UK.

Gasperetti J., Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Büttiker W.

1985. The Carnivora ong>ofong> Arabia. Fauna ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia 7, 397-461.

Gasperetti J. ong>andong> Jackson P. 1990. Preliminary

report ong>ofong> ong>theong> status ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

ong>Leopardong>. Report, 15 pp.

Haltenorth T. ong>andong> Miller H. 1985. Les mammifères

d’Afrique et de Madagascar.

Delachaux et Niestle.

Hammond R., Nader I., Boug, A. ong>andong> Bruford

M. 1997. Arabian faunal endemism:

a case study ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard, Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr. KKWRC- NCWCD

research project proposal. 5 pp.

Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Bates P. J. J. 1991. Mammals

ong>ofong> Arabia. 2 nd Edition. Harrison

Zoological Museum Publication, Sevenoaks.

Hemprich F.W. ong>andong> C.G. Ehrenberg, 1828-

1833. Symbolae physicae seu icones et

descriptiones mammalium, 1 ong>andong> 2. Berlin.

Ilany G. 1990. The spotted ambassadors ong>ofong> a

vanishing world. Israelal, 16-24.

Joubert E. 2001. ong>Conservationong> strategy for

ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Kingdom ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia. Unpublished report, NC-

WCD, Riyadh. 28 pp.

Judas J., Paillat P., Khoja A. ong>andong> Boug, A,

2004. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr in Saudi Arabia.

Report, NWRC, Taif.

Kingdon J. 1997. The Kingdon field guide

to African Mammals. Academic Press,

London.

Kummer H. A., Banaja A. A., Aro-Khatwa

A. N. ong>andong> Grong>andong>our A. M. 1981. Primates,

a survey ong>ofong> Hamadryas Baboon in

Saudi Arabia. Fauna ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia 3,

441-471.

Lacy R. C., Hughes K. A. ong>andong> Kreeger T. J.

2001. VORTEX Users Manual. A stochastic

Simulation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Extinction Process.

65 pp.

Muir-Wright M. T. 1999. The diet ong>ofong> ong>theong>

highly endangered Arabian ong>Leopardong>

(Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr). BSc (Hons).

Thesis. University ong>ofong> Aberdeen.

Nader I. 1989. Rare ong>andong> endangered mammals

ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia. In: Wildlife ong>Conservationong>

ong>andong> Development in Saudi

Arabia. Proceedings ong>ofong> ong>theong> first Symposium,

Riyadh Feb. 1987. NCWCD Publication

#3.

Nader I. 1995. Conflict between large mammals

ong>andong> man in Saudi Arabia. In Bissonette

J. A. ong>andong> Krausman P. R. (eds).

Proceedings ong>ofong> ong>theong> 1 st International Wildlife

Management Congress. Pp. 622-623.

Wildlife Society, Beong>theong>sda, MD.

Nader I. 1996. Distribution ong>andong> status ong>ofong>

five species ong>ofong> predators in Saudi Arabia.

J. Wildl. Res. 1, 210-214.

Nasser I. R. ong>andong> Esber I. S. 1995. Arabie Saoudite:

découverte d’un Royaume. International

Institute ong>ofong> Technology, Joplin,

Missouri, USA.

Seddon P. J. 1996. ong>Statusong> ong>andong> distribution ong>ofong>

native mammalian carnivores in Saudi

Arabia. Towards an Action Plan for ong>theong>

ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> Native Carnivores in ong>theong>

Kingdom ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia. Project proposal,

Dec. 1996, NWRC, Taif. 18 pp.

Stong>andong>er P. E., Haden P. J., Kaqece ong>andong> Ghau

1997. The ecology ong>ofong> asociality in Namibian

ong>Leopardong>s. Journal ong>ofong> Zoology, London

242, 343-364.

Stuart C. ong>andong> Stuart T. 1995. Minute to Midnight.

Report ong>ofong> a scientific survey on ong>theong>

status ong>ofong> indigenous wildlife in ong>theong> United

Arab Emirates executed on behalf ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Trust.

Suong>theong>rlong>andong> W. J. 1998. The importance ong>ofong>

behavioural studies in conservation biology.

Animal. Behaviour 56, 801-809.

Uphyrkina O., Johnson W. E., Quigley H.,

Miquelle D., Marker L., Bush M. ong>andong>

O’Brien S. J. 2001. Phylogenetics, genome

diversity ong>andong> origin ong>ofong> modern leopard,

Panong>theong>ra pardus. Molecular Ecology

10, 2617-2633.

Winney B., Macasero W., ong>andong> Flores B.

2000. Gazelle ong>andong> leopards genetic studies.

In KKWRC bimonthly report Jan-

Feb 2000, 11-20. Report, KKWRC, Thumamah.

Appendix 1. ong>Leopardong> records in ong>theong> last 5 years (1998 – 2003)

Site Latitude Longitude References Year Reliability Information type

Al Atifa 19.317 42.033 Paillat & Khoja 1998 1998 u reported

Malgocta near Tanumah 18.954 42.156 Rachid Ajaj Pers. comm. 1998 u reported

Bada 26.850 36.900 Budd 1999 1999 u reported

Jibal Shada 19.800 41.333 Budd 1999 1999 c livestock killed

Bada 26.850 36.900 Budd 1999 1999 u reported

Bada 26.850 36.900 Budd 1999 1999 u reported

Jibal Shada 19.800 41.333 Budd 1999 1999 u reported

Jibal Ward 26.483 37.100 Joubert 2001 1999 u reported

Al Atifa 19.317 42.033 Lagrot ong>andong> Lagrot 1999 1999 c tracks & signs

Al Atifa 19.317 42.033 Lagrot ong>andong> Lagrot 1999 1999 u reported

Samta 16.592 42.940 Paillat comm pers. 1999 c killed

Jibal Nis 20.033 41.250 Joubert 2001 2000 u reported

Wadi Khatayn 19.705 41.671 J. Judas 2002 c tracks & signs

Marbble village 19.924 41.437 J. Judas 2002 u reported

Tallan, wadi dava 17.390 43.170 Rachid Ajaj Pers. comm. 2002 u reported

near Jibal Shada 19.683 41.433 Rachid Ajaj Pers. comm. 2002 u reported

Jibal Nahr 26.042 38.141 Rachid Ajaj Pers. comm. 2002 u reported

Wargan 22.584 39.668 Rachid Ajaj Pers. comm. 2002 u reported

Jibal Kabkab 21.418 40.108 Rachid Ajaj Pers. comm. 2003 u reported

u: unconfirmed record, c: confirmed record

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 19


ong>Statusong> Report on Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Yemen

Masaa Al Jumaily 1 , David P. Mallon 2 , Abdul Karim Nasher 1 , Nagi Thowabeh 3

1

Faculty ong>ofong> Science, Sana‘a University, PO Box 12231, Sana‘a, Yemen

2

3 Acre St., Glossop, Derbyshire, SK13 8JS, UK

3

Central Organization Control ong>andong> Auditing, PO Box 151, Sana‘a, Yemen

The assumption that ong>theong> historical range ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard in Yemen formerly extended through all or most ong>ofong>

ong>theong> mountainous areas ong>ofong> ong>theong> country seems to be reasonable. Since 1990 reports on ong>theong> occurrence ong>andong> distribution

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in Yemen are generalized, ong>andong> all post 1990 records can be grouped in five

broad clusters. 1. The norong>theong>rn part ong>ofong> ong>theong> western highlong>andong>s (Wada’a, Saada to ong>theong> Saudi border ong>andong> Kufl

Shammar in Hajja. 2. The central part ong>ofong> ong>theong> western highlong>andong>s (Al Hayma, Jebel Bura’a ong>andong> Jebel Raymah.

3. South western region (Radfan to Al Koor ong>andong> possibly extending west to Taizz). 4. Central Yemen (Wadi

Hajar, possibly with Wadi Hadhramaut). 5. Al Mahra region in ong>theong> East.

Due to lack ong>ofong> sufficient information on various aspects ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard’s life in Yemen, extensive field work

is urgently needed to assess ong>theong> status ong>ofong> this animal. Since ong>theong> animal is facing great threat, strict protection

measures are urgently needed. Major threats to leopards include 1. depletion ong>ofong> ong>theong>ir prey, 2. direct persecution

through killing, 3. habitat degradation. Immediate action to control ong>theong>se threats are needed, priorities

are:1. Establish ong>theong> current status ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard ong>andong> its prey. 2. Provide effective protection for ong>theong> Arabian

leopard ong>andong> its prey. 3. Take immediate protection measures once surveying sub-populations are identified.

4. Set up an Arabian ong>Leopardong> Working Group to develop a conservation strategy. 5. Develop a good captive

breeding programme. 6. Initiate long term education ong>andong> public awareness. 7. Strongly discourage furong>theong>r

live capture ong>andong> hunting.

إن الافتراض بأن انتشار النمر العربي في الیمن قد امتد في كل أو معظم المناطق الجبلیة یبدو أمرا مقبولا.‏

ھي معلومات عامة،‏ أما

فجمیع تسجیلات تواجد وانتشار النمر العربي التي ظھرت في التقاریر منذ العام المنطقة الشمالیة للمرتفعات

فیمكن وضعھا في خمس مجموعات رئیسة.‏ التسجیلات التي ذكرت بعد الجزء الأوسط من

الغربیة ‏(وادعة وصعدة امتدادا إلى الحدود السعودیة ووصولا إلى قفل شمر في حجة).‏ المنطقة الجنوبیة الغربیة ‏(من ردفان إلى الكور مع

الحیمة وجبل برع وجبل ریمة).‏ المرتفعات الغربیة منطقة

المنطقة الوسطى ‏(وادي حجر ومن المحتمل وادي حضرموت).‏ احتمال امتدادھا غربا إلى تعز).‏ المھرة التي تقع شرق البلاد.‏

نظرا لعدم توفر معلومات كاملة عن مختلف جوانب حیاة النمر العربي في الیمن فإن الحاجة ملحة للقیام بدراسات

حقلیة لتحدید الوضع الحالي لھذا الحیوان.‏ ونظرا لأن النمر یواجھ تھدیدات كثیرة فإن ھناك حاجة ملحة لاتخاذ

اصطیاد الحیوانات التي

التدابیر اللازمة لحمایتھ بالسرعة القصوى،‏ و تشمل التھدیدات الرئیسة ما یلي:‏ تدھور البیئات التي یعیش فیھا.‏ وللسیطرة على ھذه

القتل المباشر للنمر،‏ یتغذى علیھا النمر في الطبیعة،‏ تحدید الوضع الحالي للنمر ولفرائسھ.‏

المھددات بالسرعة المطلوبة فإنھ یجب تطبیق الأولویات الآتیة:‏ اتخاذ سبل الحمایة الضروریة بمجرد تحدید تجمعاتھ الثانویة.‏

توفیر الحمایة لھ وللحیوانات التي یفترسھا..‏ تطویر برامج الإكثار في الأسر.‏

إنشاء مجموعة عمل من المتخصصین لوضع استراتیجیة الحمایة.‏ البدء ببرامج تعلیم وتوعیة بعیدة المدى.‏ 7- عدم التشجیع باصطیاده.‏

-2

4

-6

-5

-2

1990

-1

-1

-5

-1

-3

-3

-3

1990

-4

-2

)

-

ong>Statusong> ong>andong> Distribution

Information on ong>theong> historical distribution

ong>ofong> leopards Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr

in Yemen is sparse ong>andong> fragmentary,

with only a small number ong>ofong> specific

records. Neverong>theong>less, it is generally

assumed that ong>theong> historical range ong>ofong> ong>theong>

leopard in Yemen extended through all

ong>theong> mountainous areas ong>ofong> ong>theong> country,

from ong>theong> Saudi border south along ong>theong>

western escarpment, ong>theong>n east to ong>theong>

border with Oman. The linear distance

measures around 500 km from north to

south ong>andong> a furong>theong>r 900 km from east to

west ong>andong> represents a potentially extensive

area ong>ofong> former range.

Some reports relate to skins purchased

in markets that have only a vague place

ong>ofong> origin. Caution is additionally needed

because skins ong>andong> live animals ong>ofong> many

species have traditionally been imported

from norong>theong>ast Africa into Yemen. For

example Hunter (1877) referred to leopard

skins imported into Aden for sale

to ship passengers. Morrison-Scott (in

a footnote to Thesiger 1949) said that

two Arabian leopard skins he examined

were ‘a good match’ for one from So-

20 2006


malia, so differentiating skins ong>ofong> Arabian

leopards from those originating in

norong>theong>ast Africa may be difficult.

Harrison (1968) quoted an early

sight record in1843 ong>andong> listed four specimens

obtained at localities north ong>andong>

norong>theong>ast ong>ofong> Aden. These were: west ong>ofong>

Beihan; Jebel Dasha near Dhala; Mahfid;

ong>andong> ong>theong> Aulaqi Kaur. In ong>theong> same

general area, Bury (1911) reported hearing

a leopard in Wadi Hatib, between

Nisab ong>andong> Dathinah. Thesiger (1949)

observed leopard tracks in Wadi Makhya,

north ong>ofong> Wadi Hadhramaut. Scott

(1942) saw a captive animal in Sana’a

ong>andong> obtained a skin said to have been

procured locally; he also mentioned a

leopard recently captured in ong>theong> vicinity

ong>ofong> Ta’iz. Sanborn & Hoogstraal (1953)

described leopards as ‘scarce but widespread’

in ong>theong> highlong>andong>s ong>ofong> western

Yemen, ong>andong> Harrison (1968) said this

also applied to ong>theong>ir status in ong>theong> mountains

north ong>ofong> Aden.

Obadi (1993a, b) said that leopards

occurred from Habil Jabr, east ong>ofong> Radfan,

to ong>theong> Al-Kaur mountains in Abyan

province ong>andong> reported that 22 leopards

had been killed ong>theong>re during 1979-86 by

villagers around Lawdar. This area described

covers about 180-200 km, east

to west, ong>andong> lies north-east ong>andong> east ong>ofong>

Aden. Some ong>ofong> ong>theong> specimens listed by

Harrison (1968) were also obtained in

this region.

Evans (1994) said that leopards were

rare in ong>theong> hills surrounding Wadi Hajar

in central-souong>theong>rn Yemen. Jennings

(1997) reported four leopards shot in

ong>theong> previous few years in souong>theong>rn ong>andong>

eastern Yemen, without giving detailed

localities.

El-Mashjary (1995) ong>andong> Lagrot &

Lagrot (1999) provided recent records

from Wada’a, an area situated about

120km north ong>ofong> Sana’a ong>andong> containing

20 villages, ong>theong> largest ong>ofong> which is Al-

Gasem (16 0 00’N/43 0 57’E, 2,380 m).

ong>Leopardong> records consisted ong>ofong> field signs,

livestock killed ong>andong> leopards trapped.

Several leopards have been captured

subsequently in Wada’a, ong>theong> latest one

in early 2005 (Galal Al Harogi pers.

comm.), indicating continued occurrence

ong>theong>re.

Recent survey work carried out by

one ong>ofong> ong>theong> authors [AKN] in Bura’a

protected area found no signs or local

reports ong>ofong> leopards. A field survey in

Fig. 1. Distribution ong>ofong> ong>Leopardong>s in ong>theong> Republic ong>ofong> Yemen. For ong>theong> numbers in ong>theong> map, see

text.

May 2005 in part ong>ofong> Wadi Hadhramaut

revealed that ong>theong> last leopard had been

shot about 15 years earlier ong>andong> some local

people who were questioned did not

know ong>theong> animal (EPAA 2005).

According to local reports collated

by ong>theong> Environmental Protection Authority

in Sana’a, leopards are present in

seven localities: between Sa’dah ong>andong> ong>theong>

norong>theong>rn border with Saudi Arabia; Kufl

Shammar, in Hajjar Governorate; Al

Hayma, east ong>ofong> Manakhah; Jebel Bura’a

ong>andong> Jebel Raymah; between Ta’iz ong>andong>

Aden; Hadhramaut; Al Mahra.

It is difficult to give an accurate

summary ong>ofong> current leopard status in

Yemen, given ong>theong> absence ong>ofong> recent

survey data. However, all ong>theong> above

post-1990 records ong>andong> reports can be

grouped into five broad geographical

clusters (Fig. 1):

1. The norong>theong>rn part ong>ofong> ong>theong> western

highlong>andong>s (Wada’a, Kufl Shammar,

ong>andong> ong>theong> area between Sa’dah ong>andong> ong>theong>

Saudi border).

2. The central part ong>ofong> ong>theong> western highlong>andong>s

(Al Hayma, Jebel Raymah, ong>andong>

possibly Jebel Bura’a).

3. Southwest Yemen. This comprises

ong>theong> area from Radfan to Al Kaur, as

described by Obadi (1993a, 1993b),

ong>andong> possibly extending northwestwards

to mountains in ong>theong> vicinity

ong>ofong> Ta’iz. It is possible that some ong>ofong>

ong>theong> captive leopards held in Ta’iz zoo

came from a nearby locality.

4. Central-souong>theong>rn Yemen (Wadi Hajar

ong>andong> Hadhramaut). It seems likely

that leopards have been extirpated

from ong>theong> central part ong>ofong> Hadhramaut.

However, ong>theong> lower part ong>ofong> this huge

wadi system, Wadi Masilah, has not

yet been surveyed for large mammals.

It is remote, largely uninhabited

ong>andong> contains a 130-km long

stretch ong>ofong> flowing water (F. Krupp,

pers. comm.). There is also no recent

information from ong>theong> wadis north ong>ofong>

Hadhramaut such as ong>theong> area around

Minwakh ong>andong> Zamakh where ibex

are reported to be present.

5. Al Mahra, in eastern Yemen. Hauf

Forest ong>andong> nearby mountains share

similar habitat to that in ong>theong> adjacent

mountains ong>ofong> Dhong>ofong>ar. ong>Leopardong>s have

been recorded in Oman within a few

kilometres ong>ofong> ong>theong> border (Spalton et

al. 2006) ong>andong> ibex are reported to occur

on ong>theong> Yemen side (Evans 1994.

Showler 1996).

However, ong>theong> above reports vary in

data quality ong>andong> may be out ong>ofong> date.

It is likely that some or even many ong>ofong>

ong>theong>ses sites no longer hold leopards,

or that only small remnants survive. In

fact, ong>theong> only site where leopard presence

has been definitely confirmed during

ong>theong> last two years is Wada’a. This

is a relatively small area ong>andong> one where

leopards have been regularly trapped.

Un-notified trapping must surely at

least equal ong>theong> number ong>ofong> reported cases.

Removal ong>ofong> animals from ong>theong> wild,

eiong>theong>r live captured or killed, cannot

be sustained indefinitely. Field work is

urgently needed to assess ong>theong> status ong>ofong>

leopards in each ong>ofong> ong>theong>se areas ong>andong> ong>theong>

extent ong>ofong> isolation between ong>theong>m.

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 21


Fig. 2. Wadi Hadhramout in Yemen (Photo P. Vercammen).

Yemen were sold in Saudi Arabia in

2001 (Judas et al. 2006). It is impossible

to estimate accurately ong>theong> number ong>ofong>

leopards captured ong>andong> sold or exported.

Increasing public awareness work may

be having some effect in limiting ong>theong> extent

ong>ofong> illegal killing ong>andong> live capture.

Habitat degradation ong>andong> destruction

also affect much ong>ofong> ong>theong> country. Overgrazing,

unrestricted cutting ong>ofong> forests

ong>andong> scrub for fuel ong>andong> building, ong>andong> a

growing human ong>andong> livestock population

increasingly impact upon ong>theong> environment

ong>andong> pose a threat to terrestrial

biodiversity in general (Varisco et al.

1992, UNDP/UNEP/GEF 2001).

As sub-populations become smaller

ong>andong> more isolated, movement ong>ofong> individuals

between ong>theong>m, ong>andong> thus gene

flow, is increasingly restricted ong>andong>

dispersal distances grow larger. Such

demographic factors will gain in significance

as leopard numbers become

furong>theong>r depleted.

There are no estimates ong>ofong> past or

present numbers, but ong>theong> population is

generally considered to be small ong>andong>

fragmented. The few published sources

agree that leopards are rare in Yemen.

El-Mashjary (1995) said that large

mammals had been seriously depleted

during ong>theong> 20 th century ong>andong> that leopards

were rarely seen. Stuart & Stuart (1996)

suggested that leopard numbers were

very low. Al-Jumaily (1998) said that

leopards could be close to extinction.

The current population trend is assumed

to be declining, based on reductions in

prey species ong>andong> ong>theong> scarcity ong>ofong> reports.

Threats

The major threats to leopards in Yemen

are direct persecution ong>andong> depletion

ong>ofong> ong>theong> prey base through uncontrolled

hunting. Firearms are widely available,

wildlife is heavily hunted ong>andong> populations

ong>ofong> all large mammals have declined

in recent decades (Varisco et al.

1992, El-Mashjary 1995, Al-Jumaily

1998, UNDP/UNEP/GEF 2001).

ong>Leopardong>s are killed ong>andong> trapped by

livestock owners in some areas. Obadi

(1993a, 1993b) reported that villagers

in ong>theong> Lawdar area had killed 22 leopards

during 1979-86 in retaliation for

attacks on goats ong>andong> he saw skins ong>ofong>

five leopards. He also reported that people

in Umdrib village had killed three

leopards during one night in June 1983.

These were presumably a female with

two cubs. Figures from Wada’a are divergent.

El-Mashjary (1995) said more

than 100 leopards had been trapped by

shepherds in Wada’a over ong>theong> previous

20 years to protect ong>theong>ir livestock, while

Lagrot & Lagrot (1999) quoted ong>theong> local

sheikh as saying that 10 leopards (9

males, 1 female) had been caught during

ong>theong> last 10 years. ong>Leopardong>s are captured

in stone traps called margaba. The traps

resemble an igloo in shape, 120cm high

ong>andong> 200cm long, with a long flat stone

suspended above ong>theong> entrance by a rope,

which is attached to a piece ong>ofong> meat at

ong>theong> far end ong>ofong> ong>theong> trap. Eight traps were

sited at ong>theong> top ong>ofong> a cliff above ong>theong> wadi,

ong>andong> close to ong>theong> inhabited area. Some

ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopards caught in this area have

ended up in captivity, while oong>theong>rs have

been killed; ong>theong>ir fat ong>andong> skin may be

used as medicine against rheumatism

ong>andong> skin disease (El-Mashjary 1995,

Lagrot & Lagrot 1999). ong>Leopardong>s are

still being captured here occasionally

including one in spring 2005.

There has been a tradition ong>ofong> exhibiting

captive leopards in towns in

Yemen. Hunters still occasionally catch

leopards for trade purposes ong>andong> according

to anecdotal reports, ong>theong> price for a

captive Arabian leopard may have risen

to US$15,000. Three leopards from

Habitat

The western mountains extend for over

500km from north to south ong>andong> parallel

to ong>theong> Red Sea. These mountains rise

steeply from ong>theong> Tihamah coastal plain

ong>andong> contain many peaks over 3,000 m

in elevation, including Jabal al-Nabi

Shu’ayb (3,666 m), ong>theong> highest point

on ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. The central

part ong>ofong> ong>theong> range consists ong>ofong> hills ong>andong>

basins at altitudes ong>ofong> 2,000-2,750 m

that fall away gradually on ong>theong> eastern

side to ong>theong> desert interior. The western

escarpment is intensively cultivated,

usually by means ong>ofong> extensive terraces

ong>andong> it is cut by numerous, deep valley

systems. The seven largest wadis contain

water throughout ong>theong> year ong>andong> are

partially wooded with trees ong>andong> shrubs

such as Cordia abyssinica, Breonadia

salicina ong>andong> Ficus species (Scholte

1992). Wadi Rijaf has luxuriant riparian

forest with trees up to 20mб including

species ong>ofong> Ficus, Mimusops, Tamarindus,

ong>andong> Trichilia (Cowan 2004). The

mountains become more rounded to ong>theong>

south around Ta’iz. Natural vegetation

here has been extensively degraded, but

some Euphorbia ammak scrub occurs

in ong>theong> souong>theong>rn part ong>ofong> ong>theong> escarpment

(Cornwallis & Porter 1982) ong>andong> a few

pockets ong>ofong> juniper woodlong>andong> (Juniperus

spp.) remain, for example on Jabal Iraf,

between Aden ong>andong> Ta’iz (Martins 1996).

22 2006


Wada’a, in ong>theong> norong>theong>rn part ong>ofong> ong>theong> western

highlong>andong>s was described by Lagrot

& Lagrot (1999) as a dry, rocky mountain

with two wadis several kilometres

apart ong>andong> covering about 600 km 2 . El-

Mashjary (1995) said ong>theong> area contained

20 villages ong>andong> a steep rocky gorge.

A series ong>ofong> arid mountains, hills ong>andong>

plateaux extends across souong>theong>rn Yemen.

Rugged hills ong>andong> mountains with

peaks above 2,000 m run eastwards

along ong>theong> interior ong>ofong> souong>theong>rn Yemen

to ong>theong> norong>theong>ast ong>ofong> Aden. An extensive,

barren desert plateau, around 1,000-

1,200 m in elevation, ong>theong> jol, extends

eastwards from Shabwa, dropping away

northwards to ong>theong> song>andong>s ong>ofong> ong>theong> Rub al

Khali. This plateau is deeply dissected

by a complex series ong>ofong> wadis, some ong>ofong>

which contain permanent water. The

longest ong>andong> most extensive ong>ofong> ong>theong>se

is ong>theong> Wadi Hadhramaut-Wadi Masilah

system, which runs west-east ong>theong>n

souong>theong>ast into ong>theong> Gulf ong>ofong> Aden. Former

leopard habitat in Wadi Hadhramaut

consists ong>ofong> deep wadis incised into ong>theong>

plateau with long stretches ong>ofong> cliff ong>andong>

blocks ong>ofong> fallen rock. Drier slopes hold

a sparse vegetation ong>ofong> Acacia spp., Lycium

shawii, Zizyphus spp. In ong>theong> wadi

beds a few permanent fresh water pools

ong>andong> springs occur along with pools ong>ofong> a

temporary nature: location ong>andong> duration

ong>ofong> ong>theong> latter vary with rainfall. These are

surrounded by groves ong>ofong> trees including

figs (Ficus salicifolia, F. populifolia

ong>andong> date palms Phoenix dactylifera.

Hauf Forest in Al Mahra Governorate

is dominated by Anogeissus dhong>ofong>arica,

Commiphora habessinica ong>andong> Adenium

obesum (Martins 1996).

Forest cover in general was once

much more extensive than at present,

but trees have been systematically cut

down for fuel over ong>theong> centuries, ong>andong>

forests are now almost absent, except

for ong>theong> 30,000 ha Hawf Forest in Al

Mahra ong>andong> 4,100 ha Bura’a Forest in Al

Hudaidah. Scattered Acacia ong>andong> Commiphora

savanna woodlong>andong> occurs sporadically

along ong>theong> coast ong>andong> in some

inlong>andong> areas, but rapidly thins out eastwards

into ong>theong> desert.

The climate is generally hot, though

modified by altitude. Frost ong>andong> snow

are not uncommon in winter at high

elevations (Cornwallis & Porter 1982).

Precipitation may reach 650 mm annually

in ong>theong> western highlong>andong>s, with rainy

Fig. 3. Bura‘a in ong>theong> western mountains ong>ofong> Yemen ( Photo A. K. Nasher).

periods in spring ong>andong> summer. Souong>theong>rn

ong>andong> eastern Yemen are much hotter ong>andong>

more arid, except for ong>theong> extreme east

where ong>theong>re is a short summer rainy

season.

Prey Species

There is no information on leopard diet

in Yemen but several potential prey species

occur. Nubian ibex Capra nubiana

have a scattered distribution in souong>theong>rn

ong>andong> eastern Yemen (Al-Jumaily 1998,

Evans 1994, Showler 1996, UNDP/

UNEP/GEF 2001). However, as long

ago as 1915 ong>theong> ibex was considered

rare ong>andong> had already disappeared from

some areas ong>ofong> former range (Harrison

1968). Ibex are still distributed across

souong>theong>rn Yemen but numbers have been

depleted by hunting. In Hadhramaut

ong>theong>re is a long tradition ong>ofong> ibex hunting

ong>andong> horns are traditionally placed on ong>theong>

corners ong>ofong> houses. Ibex are still present

in Hadhramaut but numbers have fallen

to low levels. Mountain gazelle Gazella

gazella is ong>theong> only widespread gazelle

species whose range overlaps that ong>ofong>

ong>theong> leopard to a significant degree. Arabian

song>andong> gazelle Gazella subgutturosa

marica prefers song>andong> dune habitats ong>andong>

has only been recorded in ong>theong> north ong>andong>

norong>theong>ast, so its range is unlikely to

overlap that ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard. Two oong>theong>r

species, Gazella bilkis ong>andong> G. saudiya,

are extinct. All gazelle populations in

Yemen have been severely depleted

by overhunting (Mallon & Al-Safadi

2001).

Hamadryas baboons Papio hamadryas

occur in ong>theong> western mountains ong>andong>

highlong>andong>s norong>theong>ast ong>ofong> Aden (Harrison

& Bates 1991, Al-Jumaily 1998). However,

it has not yet been established that

Arabian leopards, which are very small

in size for this species, actually prey

on baboons. Gasperetti et al. (1985)

observed that baboons living in social

groups would be a formidable prey,

ong>andong> suggested that leopards would only

be able to take ong>theong>m on rare occasions

when an individual baboon became isolated.

Several medium-sized mammals

that were recorded in leopard diet in

souong>theong>rn Oman by Muir-Wright (1999)

are widely distributed in Yemen: Rock

hyrax Procavia capensis, Cape hare Lepus

capensis, porcupine Hystrix indica,

ong>andong> hedgehogs Paraechinus aethiopicus

ong>andong> P. hypomelas (Harrison & Bates

1991, Al-Jumaily 1998). Small carnivores

could in ong>theong>ory also form part ong>ofong>

leopard diet. Species available in Yemen

comprise golden jackal Canis aureus,

three species ong>ofong> foxes Vulpes vulpes,

V. rueppellii, V. cana; three cats Felis

silvestris, F. margarita, Caracal caracal;

honey badger Mellivora capensis;

two mongooses Bdeogale crassicauda,

Ichneumia albicauda, ong>andong> one viverrid

Genetta feline. All apparently occur at

low densities (Harrison & Bates 1991,

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 23


Conflicts ong>andong> Public Awareness

Some villagers believe that leopards

pose a threat to ong>theong>ir livestock ong>andong> El-

Mashjary (1995) quoted local people in

Wada’a as saying that leopards are aggressive

ong>andong> dangerous.

Work to raise awareness ong>ofong> ong>theong>

plight ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard is increasing. Several

posters on various aspects ong>ofong> Yemen’s

biodiversity including leopards ong>andong>

prey have been produced by ong>theong> Sharjah

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority

(EPAA) ong>andong> distributed in cooperation

with ong>theong> Environmental Protection

Authority.

Fig. 4. Rock hyrax have been identified as leopard prey. They are widespread in Yemen

(Photo Ch. Breitenmoser-Würsten).

Al-Jumaily 1998) ong>andong> some do not occur

in leopard habitat. It is also unclear

wheong>theong>r ong>theong>se species could form a significant

part ong>ofong> ong>theong> diet or wheong>theong>r ong>theong>y

would only constitute an occasional prey

item. Potential prey also includes birds

such as partridges Alectoris philbyi, A.

melanocephala ong>andong> Ammoperdix heyi,

song>andong>grouse Pterocles spp. ong>andong> oong>theong>r

ground-living birds, as well as larger

reptiles such as Uromastyx spp. ong>Leopardong>s

are known to prey on livestock but

ong>theong>re are few details on ong>theong> frequency ong>ofong>

attacks or extent ong>ofong> depredations.

Domestic Animals

Livestock are an integral part ong>ofong> ong>theong> rural

economy. Sheep ong>andong> goats are kept

everywhere, with smaller numbers ong>ofong>

camels, donkeys, ong>andong> horses. Camels

are more frequent in ong>theong> south ong>andong> drier

parts ong>ofong> ong>theong> interior. ong>Leopardong>s are known

to prey on livestock on occasion but

ong>theong>re are few details on ong>theong> frequency or

ong>theong> impact ong>ofong> ong>theong>se attacks. There are no

analyses to show ong>theong> extent ong>ofong> leopard

predation on domestic animals.

Local people in Wada’a said that

leopards began to attack livestock once

gazelles disappeared, about 20 years

previously, according to El-Mashjary

(1995). They used to take 3-4 goats a

month, but on one occasion a leopard

killed 45 goats in a single attack. (Obadi

(1993a, b) reported retaliatory killing ong>ofong>

leopards by shepherds in ong>theong> Lawdar

area. There is no government compensation

scheme for livestock losses, though

at least one local leader is reported to

operate a private scheme. Numbers ong>ofong>

domestic animals are increasing, along

with ong>theong> human population.

Legal ong>Statusong>

The leopard ong>andong> its prey species are

legally protected, but enforcement is

weak or lacking, especially in remote

areas. Several protected areas in Yemen

have been proposed ong>andong> two are being

implemented (UNDP/UNEP/GEF

2001). Wadi Rijaf PA in ong>theong> western

highlong>andong>s contains hamadryas baboon,

porcupine ong>andong> striped hyena, but leopards

probably no longer occur (Cowan

2004). Bura’a Protected Area is also

situated in ong>theong> western highlong>andong>s. Hawf

Forest on ong>theong> eastern border may contain

leopards but ong>theong>ir presence needs

confirmation. An ibex reserve has been

proposed in Wadi Hadhramaut, where

leopards were last recorded up to 15-20

years ago.

People ong>andong> Institutions

The Environmental Protection Authority

(EPA) is ong>theong> government agency

responsible for co-ordinating wildlife

research, environmental education ong>andong>

legislation. The Biology Department ong>ofong>

ong>theong> University ong>ofong> Sana’a has conducted

some mammal surveys ong>ofong> Yemen. NGOs

involved in ong>theong> conservation ong>ofong> wildlife

include ong>theong> Yemeni Biological Society,

established in 2001, ong>andong> ong>theong> Yemen Society

for ong>theong> Protection ong>ofong> Wildlife (or

Wildlife Yemen), founded in 2002.

Ongoing Work

EPA collects local reports ong>ofong> leopards.

A programme ong>ofong> cooperation between

EPA ong>andong> EPAA Sharjah has included

production ong>ofong> publicity materials, assistance

with captive breeding, field

surveys ong>andong> training. A preliminary

investigation ong>ofong> Hauf Forest by a joint

Yemeni-Omani team took place in May

2006 ong>andong> furong>theong>r work is planned.

Nine leopards are currently held at

Sana’a ong>andong> Ta’iz zoos. Breeding took

place at both zoos in 2003 but ong>theong> young

died in both cases, as well as one adult

in Sana’a. Successful breeding took

place at Sana’a zoo in 2004. Veterinary

assistance ong>andong> management advice ong>andong>

training have been provided to Sana’a

Zoo by ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah. Some

captive animals have been sent from

Sana’a to BCEAW to take part in ong>theong>

captive breeding programme, ong>andong> are

entered in ong>theong> international studbook.

Recommendations

Action is needed at all levels to conserve

ong>theong> Arabian leopard ong>andong> its prey

in Yemen. The highest priority for action

is a programme ong>ofong> field surveys to

establish current distribution ong>andong> status.

This information is fundamental to ong>theong>

development ong>ofong> a comprehensive conservation

programme.

Field surveys

• Investigate at ong>theong> earliest opportunity

ong>theong> current situation in Wada’a, ong>theong>

24 2006


only site where leopards are known

to exist at present. Information required

includes basic habitat parameters;

numbers ong>ofong> leopards trapped;

ong>theong> frequency ong>ofong> attacks on livestock.

Protection measures ong>andong> awarenessraising

activities should be instigated

to stem furong>theong>r losses from ong>theong> wild

population.

• Conduct rapid assessment surveys in

all areas where leopards have been

recently reported (see above). Follow

up with more detailed surveys where

positive indications ong>ofong> leopard presence

are found. Surveys should utilise

ong>theong> full range ong>ofong> field techniques

to accelerate data collection: sign surveys

(tracks, scrapes etc), molecular

scatology, camera trapping, structured

local interviews as appropriate.

• Take immediate protective measures

once any surviving sub-populations

are identified.

• Provide a training programme in field

techniques for local rangers ong>andong> staff,

backed up by written materials (i.e. a

basic survey hong>andong>book).

Captive Breeding

• Develop ong>theong> captive breeding programme

in line with ong>theong> best international

stong>andong>ards.

• Extend training in captive management

ong>andong> veterinary techniques to

Ta’iz Zoo.

• Integrate all leopards currently in

captivity, notably those in Ta’izz, into

ong>theong> international captive breeding

programme.

Education ong>andong> Awareness

• Develop a long-term education ong>andong>

public awareness programme through

schools, posters ong>andong> ong>theong> media.

• Strongly discourage furong>theong>r live capture

ong>andong> hunting through all possible

measures.

Ecological Research

• Collect ong>andong> collate information on

home range size, habitat use, dispersal,

diet.

References

Al-Jumaily M. M. 1998. Review ong>ofong> ong>theong>

mammals ong>ofong> ong>theong> Republic ong>ofong> Yemen.

Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia 17, 477-502.

Bury G. W. 1911. The long>andong> ong>ofong> Uz. Macmillan

& Co., London.

Fig. 5. Bura‘a in ong>theong> western mountains ong>ofong> Yemen (Photo Abdul Karim Nasher).

Cornwallis L. ong>andong> Porter R. F. 1982. Spring

observations on ong>theong> birds ong>ofong> North Yemen.

Song>andong>grouse 4, 1-36.

Cowan P. 2004. Wadi Rijaf, Jebel Bura’,

Yemen. The Phoenix 20, 11-12.

El-Mashjary M. S. 1995. The Arabian leopard

its habitat ong>andong> prey in ong>theong> Republic ong>ofong>

Yemen. Workshop on ong>theong> Arabian leopard

(Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr) 15-16 October

1995, Sharjah.

EPAA 2005. Wadi Hadhramout ong>Conservationong>

area. Rapid assessment survey. Environment

ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority,

Sharjah.

Evans M.I . (Compiler). 1994. Important

Bird Areas in ong>theong> Middle East. BirdLife

International, Cambridge.

Gasperetti J., Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Büttiker W.

1985. The Carnivora ong>ofong> Arabia. Fauna ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia 7, 397-461.

Harrison D. L. 1964. The mammals ong>ofong> Arabia.

Volume 1. Ernest Benn, Tonbridge.

Harrison D. L. 1968. The mammals ong>ofong> Arabia.

Volume 2. Ernest Benn, Tonbridge.

Harrison D. L. & Bates P. J. J. 1991. The

mammals ong>ofong> Arabia. Second edition. Harrison

Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks.

Hunter F. M. 1877 (reprinted 1968). An account

ong>ofong> ong>theong> British settlement ong>ofong> Aden in

Arabia. Frank Cass & Co., London.

Jennings M. C. 1997. ABBA survey 20:

Eastern Yemen, February 1997. Phoenix

14, 3-6.

Lagrot I. &. Lagrot J-F. 1999. ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong>

Arabian Peninsula. Cat News 30, 21-22.

Mallon D. P. ong>andong> Al-Safadi M. 2001. Yemen.

In Mallon D. P. ong>andong> Kingswood, S.

C. (Compilers). Antelopes. Part 4: North

Africa, ong>theong> Middle East, ong>andong> Asia. Global

Survey ong>andong> Regional Action Plans, pp.

63-68. IUCN, Glong>andong>.

Martins R. P. 1996. Some aspects ong>ofong> souong>theong>rn

Yemen: an introduction for field ornithologists

ong>andong> conservationists. Song>andong>grouse

17, 15-21.

Muir-Wright, M. T. 1999. The diet ong>ofong> ong>theong>

highly endangered Arabian leopard (Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr). B.Sc. (Hons.) Thesis,

University ong>ofong> Aberdeen.

Obadi N.A. 1993a. [Animals ong>ofong> Yemen:

Mammals.] Vol. 1. Obadi Publication

Centre. (In Arabic).

Obadi N.A. 1993b. [Man ong>andong> environment

in Yemen.] Obadi Publication Centre. (In

Arabic).

Sanborn C.C. & Hoogstraal H. 1953. Some

mammals ong>ofong> Yemen ong>andong> ong>theong>ir ectoparasites.

Fieldiana: Zoology 34, 229-252.

Scholte, P. T. 1992. The birds ong>ofong> Wadi Rima,

a permanently flowing wadi in western

Yemen. Song>andong>grouse 14, 93-108.

Scott H. 1942. In ong>theong> high Yemen. John

Murray, London.

Showler D. A. 1996. Mammal observations

in Yemen ong>andong> Socotra, spring 1993.

Song>andong>grouse 17, 165-169.

Stuart C. ong>andong> Stuart T. 1996. Summary ong>ofong>

findings ong>ofong> an exploratory visit to ong>theong>

Republic ong>ofong> Yemen. Unpublished report,

African-Arabian Wildlife Research Centre.

Thesiger W. 1949. A furong>theong>r journey across

ong>theong> Empty Quarter. Geographical Journal

113, 21-46.

UNDP/UNEP/GEF. 2001. The integration

ong>ofong> biodiversity into national environmental

assessment procedures. National case

studies. Yemen. UNDP/UNEP/GEF.

Varisco D. M., Ross J. P. ong>andong> Milroy A.

1992. Biological Diversity Assessment

ong>ofong> Yemen. ICBP, Study Report No. 52.

Cambridge.

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 25


ong>Statusong> Report for ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

James A. Spalton 1 , Hadi M. Al Hikmani 1 , Mansoor H. Jahdhami 1 , Abdulkarder A. A. Ibrahim 2 ,

Ali S. Bait Said 3 ong>andong> David Willis 4

1

Office ong>ofong> ong>theong> Adviser for ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment, Diwan ong>ofong> Royal Court, PO Box 246, Muscat 113, Sultanate ong>ofong>

Oman

2 Directorate General ong>ofong> Royal Farms & Gardens, Royal Court Affairs, PO Box 787, Salalah, Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

3

Directorate General ong>ofong> Environment, Ministry ong>ofong> Regional Municipalities, Environment & Water Resources, PO Box 2035,

Salalah 211, Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

4

PO Box 238, Al Khuwair 133, Muscat, Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

Once widespread in ong>theong> mountains ong>ofong> Oman ong>theong> Arabian leopard disappeared from ong>theong> Hajar range in 1976

ong>andong> has not been recorded in ong>theong> Musong>andong>am Governorate since 1997. However, it continues to survive

through much ong>ofong> ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar Mountains.

The first significant step to conserve ong>theong> Arabian leopard was taken in 1985 when ong>theong> region’s first captive

breeding group was established. Furong>theong>r important steps were taken in 1997 when Jabal Samhan, a part ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar Mountains, was declared a Nature Reserve. In ong>theong> same year ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Survey was

launched ong>andong> since that time field surveys, camera-trapping ong>andong> tracking ong>ofong> leopards fitted with GPS satellite

collars has not only revealed vital information on ong>theong> ecology ong>ofong> this species but has helped to keep this

flagship species in ong>theong> public eye.

While new work, from ecotourism initiatives to molecular scatology, is underway furong>theong>r bold steps need

to be taken if we are to conserve Oman’s ong>andong> perhaps ong>theong> regions’ last wild Arabian leopard population.

Undoubtedly ong>theong> most important ong>ofong> ong>theong>se is to urgently safeguard ong>theong> leopards ong>andong> associated biodiversity

ong>ofong> Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve with innovative measures that bring real benefits to ong>theong> local people.



من ‎1976‎م اختفى

عام لسلطنة عُمان عمان.‏ وفي

مختلف السلاسل الجبلیة فيفي

الماضي في

العربي عاشعاش النمر

لا

الطالع أنھ

یمیمن

منذ عام ‎1997‎م.‏ ومن

محافظة مسندم في

تسجل لھلھ مشاھدات

كما لم

جبال الحجر،‏

سلسلة

یزال یعیش في معظم جبال ظفارار حتى الیوم.‏

1976

1997

منمن

مجموعة بتأسیس أول

‎1985‎م

عام أولى الخطوات لصون النمر العربي فيفي سلطنة عمان عُمان في

تم اتخاذ

جبلبل

الإالإعلان عنعن حیث تم

‎1997‎م

في عام أخرى

اتخذت خطوات ھامة الأسر.‏ كما

المرباة في

النمور

مسح النمر العربي في نفس العامام تدشین

تم كمحمیة طبیعیة.‏ كما

یمثل جزءً‏ من جبال ظفار سمحان الذي

النمور ببعض

والإمساك

الالنمور بالكامیرات فخیة ذلك الحین إجراء مسوحات میدانیة وتصویر منذ

تم حیث

الاصطناعیة،‏

ارتباطھاھا لاسلكیً‏ لاسلكیا بالأقمار

فضائیة عن طریق

ملاحة

على أنظمة

وتطویقھا بأطواق محتویة أیكولوجیة النمر العربي وساعد في توجیھ الأنظار نحو ھذا الحیوان حول أساسیة وفر معلومات

الأمر الذي

النادر.‏

البري

لا یزال الأمر النمر،‏ إلاإلا أن

تاائً‏ براز

العمل الحالي مبادرات للسیاحة البیئیة ودراسة جزی في حین یتضمن

للنمور العربیة في آخر تعداد على المحافظة

ریئة إذا ما أردنا إلى اتخاذ المزید من الخطوات الجریئ

بحاجة

الحمایة للنمور

تأمین

في بأن أھم ھذه الخطوات ھي الإسراع

المنطقة بوجھ عام.‏ ولاشك

وربما في

السلطنة خلاقة تدابیر

وضع

بعین الاعتبار الأخذ

في محمیة جبل سمحان الطبیعیة مع الأحیائي المصاحب

والتنوع

المحلیین.‏

بالنفع على السكان تعود

26 2006


Taxonomy ong>andong> nomenclature

Specific name: Panong>theong>ra pardus, Linnaeus

1758. Subspecific name: Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr, Hemprich & Ehrenberg

1830. Oong>theong>r names: nimr (Arabic throughout

Oman, including Kaong>theong>eri ong>andong>

Shuhi), aqeydhar (Sahil Al Jazir, Central

Region (Jenebi)), qeydhar (Jebali

ong>andong> Mahri).

ong>Statusong>, distribution ong>andong> development

Detail ong>ofong> distribution records given in

Appendix A.In norong>theong>rn Oman leopards

once occurred in ong>theong> massive Hajar

range (Harrison 1968) ong>andong> it is likely

ong>theong>y were widespread. However, few

records exist ong>andong> ong>theong> last confirmed report

was ong>ofong> a dead animal in 1976 near

Rustak. Today ong>theong> leopard is considered

to be absent from ong>theong> Hajar range (Anon

1997).

In ong>theong> Musong>andong>am Peninsula ong>theong>re

was a spate ong>ofong> reports ong>ofong> illegal killings

ong>ofong> leopards in ong>theong> late 1970s ong>andong> early

1980s. In 1980 alone eight leopards

were reported killed by local shepherds.

Furong>theong>r killings occurred in ong>theong> 1990s,

ong>theong> most recent record is ong>ofong> two leopards

caught in a leghold trap ong>andong> ong>theong>n

shot, by citizens from outside Oman, on

Omani territory in October 1997. There

are no confirmed sightings since that

time although ong>theong>re have been reports

ong>ofong> furong>theong>r killings in adjacent territory

ong>ofong> ong>theong> United Arab Emirates (UAE)

as recently as 2001 (Jongbloed 2001).

Recent camera-trapping projects in ong>theong>

UAE have not been successful (CBSG

2002). Illegal hunting ong>andong> illegal persecution

by local shepherds have probably

been ong>theong> main contributors to ong>theong> demise

ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard. If ong>theong> leopard is still

present in Musong>andong>am ong>andong> ong>theong> norong>theong>rn

Emirates ong>theong>n numbers are likely to be

in single figures (CBSG 2002).

In ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar Mountains ong>theong> presence

ong>ofong> leopards was recorded by

Thomas (1932) ong>andong> Thesiger (1949).

Founders for ong>theong> first captive breeding

group ong>ofong> Arabian leopard, established

at ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Omani

Mammals in Muscat, were caught in

Jabal Samhan in 1985 (Usher-Smith

1985). In 1995 David Willis succeeded

with camera-traps to photograph leopards

in Jabal Samhan ong>andong> during ong>theong>

years 1997-2000 ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Survey recorded 17 individuals using

camera-traps (Fig. 2; Spalton & Willis

Fig. 1. Historical (hatched), confirmed (red) ong>andong> possible (green) occurrence ong>ofong> Arabian

leopard in Oman.

1999, Spalton et al. 2006). Since 2000

an ongoing programme ong>ofong> camera-trapping

ong>andong> satellite tagging ong>ofong> leopards

has confirmed ong>theong> continuing presence

ong>ofong> leopards elsewhere in ong>theong> mountains

ong>ofong> Dhong>ofong>ar, from Salalah west to ong>theong> border

with Yemen (Office ong>ofong> ong>theong> Adviser

for ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment

[OACE], unpubl. data). Illegal killing

by local shepherds is probably ong>theong> primary

threat to leopards in Dhong>ofong>ar.

Habitat

While we do not know what constitutes

prime habitat it is likely that ong>theong> woodlong>andong>s,

scrub ong>andong> grasslong>andong>s ong>ofong> Dhong>ofong>ar

were once, ong>andong> still may be, ong>theong> best habitat

for leopards. Woodlong>andong>, dominated

by Anogeisus dhong>ofong>arica, predominates

on many parts ong>ofong> ong>theong> steep south-facing

escarpment ong>ofong> Jabals Qara ong>andong> Qamar.

The canopy is relatively open ong>andong> ground

cover is good. Above ong>theong> woodlong>andong>s are

tall grasslong>andong>s, which cover ong>theong> plateau

(Reade et al. 1980). While neiong>theong>r ong>theong>

woodlong>andong>s nor grasslong>andong>s support medium

or large sized wild herbivores ong>theong>

areas do support smaller species such as

rock hyrax Procavia capensis jayakari

ong>andong> although not documented smaller

mammals, birds ong>andong> reptiles are likely

to be widespread. However, ong>theong>se areas

also have ong>theong> greatest density ong>ofong> people

ong>andong> domestic stock that has led to rapid

degradation ong>ofong> ong>theong>se habitats over ong>theong>

last 20 years (Ghazanfar 1999).

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 27


melanocephala, small rodents ong>andong> reptiles

are ubiquitous in ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar mountains.

The Arabian leopard, like ong>theong> African

leopard, is likely to be an opportunist

ong>andong> may on occasions take oong>theong>r

species such as Blanford‘s fox Vulpes

cana ong>andong> African small-spotted genet

Genetta felina grantii although scat

analysis found no supporting evidence

(Muir-Wright 1999). Similarly leopards

in Jabal Samhan might also take goats,

young camels ong>andong> young donkeys while

to ong>theong> west (Jabals Qara ong>andong> Qamar)

cattle might occasionally be preyed

upon.

Fig. 2. ong>Leopardong> pair camera-trapped in Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve (Photo A. Spalton).

Today ong>theong> best habitat for ong>theong> leopard

is likely to be ong>theong> Acacia dominated

scrub ong>ofong> ong>theong> souong>theong>rn escarpment ong>ofong>

Jabal Samhan (Fig. 3) ong>andong> ong>theong> semi-desert

ong>ofong> ong>theong> interior ong>andong> norong>theong>rn aspects

ong>ofong> Jabals Samhan, Qara ong>andong> Qamar that

lie outside ong>theong> monsoon area. Here herbivores

including Nubian ibex Capra

ibex nubiana ong>andong> Arabian gazelle Gazella

gazella still survive ong>andong> densities

ong>ofong> people ong>andong> livestock are low (OACE,

unpubl. data). The declaration ong>ofong> Jabal

Samhan as a Nature Reserve has increased

ong>theong> level ong>ofong> protection ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard

ong>andong> its habitat.

The mountains ong>ofong> norong>theong>rn Oman

(Musong>andong>am ong>andong> ong>theong> Hajar range) must

today be considered to be marginal

habitat for ong>theong> leopard. Although ong>theong>

Arabian tahr is still relatively common

in ong>theong> Hajar mountains (Insall 1999)

oong>theong>r herbivores, particularly ong>theong> gazelle,

have gone from many areas. Hyraxes

are not found in norong>theong>rn Oman

ong>andong> thus medium sized prey species are

virtually absent. Over-browsing ong>andong>

grazing by goats ong>andong> feral donkeys has

degraded ong>theong> vegetation as has clearing

for houses ong>andong> road building in recent

years (Ghazanfar 1999).

The only protected area within ong>theong>

range ong>ofong> existing leopard populations

is Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve (NR).

Declared by Royal Decree in 1997 it covers

4,500 km 2 . Rangers ong>ofong> ong>theong> Ministry

ong>ofong> Regional Municipalities, Environment

& Water Resources (MRMEWR)

operate within ong>theong> reserve.

Prey species

A provisional study by Muir-Wright

(1999) ong>ofong> 74 leopards scats collected in

Jabal Samhan NR found ong>theong> following

9 prey groups, given here in decreasing

order ong>ofong> importance: - Arabian gazelle,

Nubian ibex, Cape hare Lepus capensis

cheesmani, rock hyrax, birds, Indian

crested porcupine Hystrix indica, Ethiopian

hedgehog Paraechinus aethiopicus,

small rodents ong>andong> insects. Since

1999 a furong>theong>r 200 scats have been collected

ong>andong> pooled with ong>theong> existing 74

scats for a furong>theong>r analysis by ong>theong> University

ong>ofong> Aberdeen. Results have yet to

be published.

Ibex were ong>theong> most frequently recorded

ungulate during three years ong>ofong> camera

trapping work ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Survey in Jabal Samhan (Fig. 4) .

They were found throughout ong>theong> wadis

ong>andong> high plateau but were not recorded

on ong>theong> face ong>ofong> ong>theong> souong>theong>rn escarpment

(Spalton et al. 2006). Ibex are also present

in ong>theong> dry areas ong>ofong> Jabal Qara ong>andong>

Qamar (MRMEWR, unpublished records).

However, nothing is known ong>ofong>

any population trend. Gazelle were also

recorded in Jabal Samhan although only

on ong>theong> high plateau. Hyrax, porcupine

ong>andong> hedgehog were recorded in Samhan

ong>andong> except for hedgehog have also been

camera-trapped in Jabal Qamar. Hyrax

colonies are seen throughout ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar

mountains in spite ong>ofong> ong>theong> fact that ong>theong>y

are still hunted for ong>theong>ir meat in Jabals

Qara ong>andong> Qamar (OACE, unpubl. data).

Arabian red-legged partridge Alectoris

Domestic animals

The peoples ong>ofong> Jabal Qara ong>andong> Qamar

have traditionally herded cattle on ong>theong>

mountain pastures as a form ong>ofong> livelihood

(Reade et al. 1980). Numbers

were limited by natural factors such as

ong>theong> absence ong>ofong> perennial water, ong>theong> need

to provide food supplement (dried sardines)

during winter months ong>andong> ong>theong> presence

ong>ofong> biting flies during ong>theong> monsoon

(Lawton 1978). These coupled with ong>theong>

management ong>ofong> stock on a tribal basis

prevented numbers from exceeding ong>theong>

carrying capacity ong>ofong> ong>theong> Jabal. The peoples

ong>ofong> Jabal Samhan traditionally raised

camels ong>andong> goats. The increased availability,

after 1970, ong>ofong> services such as veterinary

care, subsidized feed, improved

water supplies ong>andong> new sources ong>ofong> income

that allowed ong>theong> purchase ong>ofong> additional

animals catalysed rapid increases

in livestock numbers ong>andong> particularly in

numbers ong>ofong> camels (Zaroug 1983). The

main perceived problem is ong>theong> intrusion

ong>ofong> camels into cattle grazing areas, not

just seasonally but throughout ong>theong> year

(Morris 1986). While cattle ong>andong> goats

still tend to be corralled at night time,

camels are not ong>andong> are thus on ong>theong> jabal

year round ong>andong> 24 hours a day. During

ong>theong> monsoon cattle are corralled during

daytime, because ong>ofong> biting flies, ong>andong>

thus are grazed ong>andong> watered at night.

Sale in Reade et al. (1980) reported,

“…leopards do kill domestic stock ong>andong>

are thus a menace to pastoral people…”.

This is likely to be ong>theong> case ong>andong> many, if

not most, people consider ong>theong> leopards

a threat to ong>theong>ir domestic stock. However,

nothing is known ong>ofong> ong>theong> frequency

that leopard actually take livestock. The

likelihood ong>ofong> livestock predation is gre-

28 2006


atest in Jabals Qara ong>andong> Qamar where

camera trapping ong>andong> satellite tracking

has shown leopard ranging close to settlements

ong>andong> in areas ong>ofong> high density ong>ofong>

domestic stock (OACE, unpubl. data).

In 2001 ong>andong> 2002 local people reported

leopard to have killed camels in an area

ong>ofong> Jabal Qamar (A. S. Bait Said, unpubl.

data). Camera trapping in ong>theong> same area

in 2002 proved that leopards were indeed

present as were caracal Caracal caracal

schmitzi, striped hyaena Hyaena

hyaena sultana ong>andong> Arabian wolf Canis

lupus arabs (OACE, unpubl. data). In

Jabal Samhan ong>theong>re was no evidence ong>ofong>

domestic species in ong>theong> diet ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard

(Muir-Wright 1999).

Legal status

In Oman ong>theong> leopard is protected from

hunting ong>andong> capture (Ministerial Decision

101/02, Royal Decrees 111/96,

75/98, 114/2001 & 6/2003). Under Royal

Decree 6/2003 ong>theong> penalty for hunting

or capture ong>ofong> leopard, an Appendix

1 species, is imprisonment for not less

than six months ong>andong> not exceeding 5

years ong>andong> a fine not less than R.O. 1000

ong>andong> not exceeding R.O. 5000.

Of ong>theong> key prey species ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard

ong>theong> Arabian gazelle ong>andong> Nubian

ibex are all also on Appendix 1 ong>ofong> Royal

Decree 6/2003. All oong>theong>r species are

also protected by law ong>andong> are listed on

Appendix 2 ong>ofong> Royal Decree 6/2003.

Red List status is as follows: Global:

CR C2a (IUCN 1996a). National:

CR D, C2a (Terrestrial Mammal Group,

Directorate General ong>ofong> Nature ong>Conservationong>,

MRMEWR).

Protection status: Global: CITES

Appendix 1 (IUCN 1996b).

Conflicts ong>andong> public awareness

The primary conflict is that ong>theong> leopard

Table 1. Specimens ong>ofong> Arabian leopard kept at ong>theong> Oman Natural History Museum.

Accession No. Description Origin

ONHM 135 Complete Musong>andong>am 1981

ONHM 503 Complete Jabal Samhan 1985

ONHM 1064 Skull Musong>andong>am 1980

ONHM 1065 Skull Musong>andong>am 1980

ONHM 1288 Complete Bait Barakah Breeding Centre 1989

ONHM 1523 Complete Bait Barakah Breeding Centre 1990

ONHM 2295 Skull Dhong>ofong>ar 1994

ONHM 2756 Complete Bait Barakah Breeding Centre 1997

ONHM 3299 Complete Jabal Samhan 2002

Fig. 3. Woodlong>andong> habitat ong>ofong> ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar mountains (Photo A. Spalton).

will on occasions take domestic animals.

The frequency ong>ofong> such livestock killing

is unknown ong>andong> in many cases ong>theong> leopard

is probably ong>ofong>ten blamed for kills

by wolves ong>andong> more ong>ofong>ten for livestock

losses where no clear cause can be identified.

Neverong>theong>less ong>theong> general ong>andong> widely

held view is that ong>theong> leopards prey

upon domestic stock. The knowledge

that ong>theong> leopard is protected has lead

local people to request compensation

from ong>theong> concerned government bodies.

There is no scheme for compensation at

this time ong>andong> this issue is itself a source

ong>ofong> potential conflict. The recruitment ong>ofong>

rangers from areas within ong>theong> range ong>ofong>

ong>theong> leopard by ong>theong> MRMEWR has helped

gained some support for conservation

efforts. The establishment ong>ofong> Jabal

Samhan Nature Reserve has led to little

conflict in resource use since few local

people enter ong>theong> reserve. However, ong>theong>re

is a need to manage ong>theong> activities ong>ofong>

frankincense harvesters in ong>theong> reserve.

Public awareness programmes have

been carried out by MRMEWR ong>andong>

OACE locally ong>andong> nationally. At a national

level numerous brochures, booklets

ong>andong> oong>theong>r materials have been published

ong>andong> distributed. In 2001 ong>andong> 2002

MRMEWR public relations staff accompanied

by rangers visited six schools in

ong>theong> areas around Jabal Samhan Nature

Reserve ong>andong> in Jabals Qara ong>andong> Qamar.

At each school ong>theong>y gave presentations

to ong>theong> children on ong>theong> wildlife ong>ofong> Dhong>ofong>ar

with particular emphasis on ong>theong> leopard.

Similar presentations have been made

to two gaong>theong>rings ong>ofong> local people in Jabal

Qamar. A booklet on Jabal Samhan

Nature Reserve was printed in 2001 ong>andong>

distributed to ong>theong> general public.

The Office ong>ofong> ong>theong> Adviser for ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment (OACE)

produced a short video documentary,

a booklet, a poster ong>andong> six information

panels on ong>theong> work ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Survey in Jabal Samhan Nature

Reserve. This material was exhibited at

a forum on Desertification held in Salalah

in March 2002 ong>andong> at ong>theong> annual

Khareef Festival since 2004.

People ong>andong> institutions

The primary authority for conservation

ong>ofong> Oman’s wildlife is ong>theong> MRMEWR,

ong>andong> in particular ong>theong> Directorate General

for Nature ong>Conservationong> in Muscat

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 29


Fig. 4.Nubian ibex ong>andong> kid camera-trapped (Photo A. Spalton).

ong>andong> ong>theong> Directorate General for Environment

in Dhong>ofong>ar. The MRMEWR

employ 38 wildlife rangers in Dhong>ofong>ar.

The Office ong>ofong> ong>theong> Adviser for ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment in ong>theong>

Diwan ong>ofong> Royal Court commenced ong>theong>

work ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Survey in

1997. This has comprised field research

ong>andong> studies in Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve

ong>andong> since 2000 in Jabals Qara ong>andong>

Qamar. In 2006 surveys were undertaken

with Biosphere Expeditions in ong>theong>

Musong>andong>am peninsula.

The Directorate General ong>ofong> Royal

Farms & Gardens ong>ofong> Royal Court Affairs

is responsible for Oman’s only

group ong>ofong> captive leopards held at ong>theong>

Bait al Barakah Breeding Centre for

Omani Mammals, Muscat.

In 2002 an Arabian ong>Leopardong> Working

Group was established under ong>theong>

chairmanship ong>ofong> ong>theong> Director General

for Nature ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> MRME-

WR ong>andong> members include representatives

from ong>theong> OACE ong>andong> ong>theong> Sultan Qaboos

University.

Inventory

The Oman Natural History Museum,

Ministry ong>ofong> National Heritage ong>andong> Culture

holds nine specimens ong>ofong> Arabian

leopard (Table 1).

Seven animals are kept at ong>theong> Bait

Al Barakah Breeding Centre for Omani

Mammals, Directorate General ong>ofong>

Royal Farms & Gardens, Royal Court

Affairs, Muscat (Table 2).

Ongoing work

OACE is continuing ong>theong> work ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Arabian ong>Leopardong> Survey as follows:

• Camera-Trapping in ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar

Mountains. Camera-trap survey work

continues across ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar mountains

to determine ong>theong> continuing presence or

absence ong>ofong> leopards ong>andong> to ascertain ong>theong>

degree ong>ofong> fragmentation ong>ofong> ong>theong> population.

This work is being carried out in

conjunction with staff ong>ofong> MRMEWR.

• Investigation ong>ofong> Livestock Killing.

Camera trapping, satellite tracking ong>andong>

molecular scatology are being used to

help ong>theong> MRMEWR to investigate cases

ong>ofong> reported livestock killing by wild

animals ong>andong> thus be better equipped to

address ong>theong> issue ong>ofong> compensation.

• Genetic Studies. Staff ong>ofong> ong>theong> Biology

Department, College ong>ofong> Science, ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Sultan Qaboos University are developing

genetic techniques to identify leopard

ong>andong> oong>theong>r large carnivores (wolf,

hyena ong>andong> caracal) from scats (faeces)

collected on ong>theong> jabal. To date DNA has

been successfully isolated from tissue

material ong>andong> scats ong>ofong> captive (Al Ansari

et al. 2005) ong>andong> wild leopards (Pers.

comm. Al Ansari, January 2006).

• Satellite GPS Tracking. Four GPS satellite

collars have been recovered from

leopards captured in Jabal Samhan ong>andong>

Jabal Qamar. Data is being analysed

that will give vital range information

for male ong>andong> female leopards. Collaring

will continue in order to furong>theong>r investigate

ong>theong> ecology ong>ofong> ong>theong> species ong>andong> especially

to investigate interaction ong>ofong> ong>theong>

leopard with people ong>andong> ong>theong>ir livestock.

• Surveys in Governorate ong>ofong> Musong>andong>am.

In January 2006 OACE joined up with

Biosphere Expeditions to carry out survey

work in Musong>andong>am while simultaneously

helping to develop responsible

tourism (www.biosphere-expeditions.

org).

• Education & Public Awareness Material.

Staff continue to work with local

schools ong>andong> government ong>ofong>fices to disseminate

information.

• Documentary Film. David Willis has

been contracted to produce ong>theong> region’s

first documentary film about ong>theong> leopard

ong>andong> ong>theong> work ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Survey. ong>Leopardong> footage will be obtained

from video-camera traps.

Table 2. Animals kept in captivity (in ong>andong> outside Oman) in December 2006.

Studbook Sex Birth Sire Dam Location Date Local ID Event Name

Nr

date

8 M 05.05.93 1 3 BC-Oman 05.05.93 M267 Birth Mohan

10 M 24.02.95 1 3 BC-Oman 24.02.95 M297 Birth Zeak

12 M ~ 1993 wild wild Yemen ~ 1994 UNK Capture Nimrod

Private ~ 1994 UNK Transfer

Sharjah BR 18.05.95 PP001 Loan to

BC-Oman 03.05.97 UNK Loan to

Sharjah BR 12.02.98 PP001 Transfer

BC-Oman 30.04.02 M350 Loan to

17 F 21.02.97 1 7 BC-Oman 21.02.97 M342 Birth Riha

18 F 21.02.97 1 7 BC-Oman 21.02.97 M343 Birth Badria

3 F ~ 1984 wild wild BC-Oman ~ 1985 UNK Capture Nesra

BC-Oman ~ 1985 M112 Transfer

Sharjah BR 04.05.97 PP003 Loan to

6 F 15.05.90 1 3 BC-Oman 15.05.90 M214 Birth Hesra

Sharjah BR 11.11.95 PP002 Loan to

30 2006


Recommendations

Survey & Research. To continue with

current programs (identified above) for

survey ong>andong> research including investigations

into livestock killing by large

carnivores.

Implementation ong>ofong> Management Plan.

To strengong>theong>n efforts to implement ong>theong>

management plan for Jabal Samhan Nature

Reserve.

Public Education Campaigns. To continue

with ong>theong>se in schools ong>andong> public

forums.

Social Survey. In order to understong>andong>

what ong>theong> leopard means to ong>theong> local people

ong>ofong> Dhong>ofong>ar it is recommended that a

survey be carried out within leopard

range areas to determine attitudes ong>andong>

needs ong>ofong> local human communities.

Captive Breeding. Maintain ong>theong> captive

group ong>andong> encourage new breeding

loans with collections outside Oman in

order to avoid inbreeding ong>andong> to broaden

ong>theong> genetic base.

Collaboration with neighbouring range

states. To investigate ong>theong> possibility ong>ofong>

surveying areas within Yemen close to

ong>theong> Oman – Yemen border ong>andong> give assistance,

where appropriate, to conservation

authorities in Yemen.

Regional ong>Conservationong> Initiatives. To

support efforts to develop a Strategic

Plan for ong>theong> conservation ong>ofong> ong>theong> species.

Literature ong>andong> reports

Anon. 1997. Action Plan for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr in ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman.

Terrestrial Mammal Group, Directorate

General ong>ofong> Nature ong>Conservationong>, Oman.

Daly, R. H. 1990. Arabian leopard Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr. In Report ong>ofong> Cat Group

meeting in Rome at ong>theong> International

Theriological Congress, 1989. Cat News

12(4).

Fisher, M. F. 1999. The ong>Conservationong> ong>Statusong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Terrestrial Mammals ong>ofong> Oman: A

Preliminary Red List. In The Natural History

ong>ofong> Oman: A Festschrift for Michael

Gallagher., ed. M. Fisher, S.A. Ghazanfar

& J. A. Spalton. 109-127. Backhuys

Publishers, Leiden

Harrison D. L. 1980. The Mammals obtained

in Dhong>ofong>ar by ong>theong> 1977 Oman Flora

ong>andong> Fauna Survey. J. Oman Studies Special

Report No. 2: The Scientific Results

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Oman Flora ong>andong> Fauna Survey

1977 (Dhong>ofong>ar), 387-397.

Spalton J. A. ong>andong> Willis D. 1999. The status

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in Oman: First

Fig. 5. Education to engage young Omanis in leopard conservation (Photo A. Spalton).

results ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard survey. In

The Natural History ong>ofong> Oman: A Festschrift

for Michael Gallagher., ed. M.

Fisher, S. A. Ghazanfar & J. A. Spalton.

147-160. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.

Spalton J. A., Al Hikmani H.M., Willis D.

ong>andong> Bait Said A. S. 2006. Critically Endangered

Arabian leopards Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr persist in ong>theong> Jabal Samhan

Nature Reserve, Oman. Oryx 40, 287-

294.

Usher-Smith J. H. 1983. Report on ong>theong> two

leopard expeditions to ong>theong> Musong>andong>am

Province mounted in 1983. Report to ong>theong>

Government ong>ofong> Oman.

Usher-Smith J. H. 1985. Report on ong>theong> Salalah

leopard expeditions between January

16th ong>andong> May 5th 1985. Report to ong>theong>

Government ong>ofong> Oman.

References

Al Ansari A., Al-Khayat A., Spalton J. A.,

Al-Dafry K. ong>andong> Al-Zadjali S. 2005.

The molecular genetics ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

leopard: A preliminary study. Poster

presented at ong>theong> joint annual meeting ong>ofong>

ong>theong> International Society for Molecular

Biology ong>andong> Evolution ong>andong> ong>theong> Genetics

Society ong>ofong> Australasia, New Zealong>andong>, 19-

23 June, 2005.

Anonymous 1997. Action Plan for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr in ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman.

Terrestrial Mammal Group, Directorate

General ong>ofong> Nature ong>Conservationong>, Oman.

CBSG 2002. ong>Conservationong> Assessment ong>andong>

Management Plan (CAMP) for ong>theong> Threatened

Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia’s Mountain Habitat,

9-14 February 2002.

Gasperetti J., Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Büttiker W.

1986. The Carnivora ong>ofong> Arabia. Fauna ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia 7, 397-461

Ghazanfar S. A. 1999. A review ong>ofong> ong>theong> flora

ong>ofong> Oman. In The Natural History ong>ofong>

Oman: A Festschrift for Michael Gallagher.,

ed. M. Fisher, S.A. Ghazanfar

& J.A. Spalton. 29-63. Backhuys Publishers,

Leiden.

Harrison D. L. 1968. The Mammals ong>ofong> Arabia.

Vol. 2 Carnivora, Artiodactyla, Hyracoidea.

Benn, London.

Insall D. 1999. A Review ong>ofong> ong>theong> Ecology ong>andong>

ong>Conservationong> ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian Tahr.

In The Natural History ong>ofong> Oman: A Festschrift

for Michael Gallagher., ed. M.

Fisher, S.A. Ghazanfar & J.A. Spalton.

129-146. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.

IUCN 1996a. 1996 IUCN Red List ong>ofong> Threatened

Animals Eds. Baillie, J & Groombridge,

B.

IUCN 1996b. Wild Cats: ong>Statusong> Survey ong>andong>

ong>Conservationong> Action Plan. Compiled ong>andong>

edited by Kristin Nowell & Peter Jackson

ong>andong> ong>theong> IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist

Group, 382 pp.

Jongbloed M. 2001. Working for Wildlife.

Barkers Trident Communications. Lond.

96 pp.

Lawton R. M. 1978. A reconnaissance survey

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Jabal Qara grazing long>andong> ecosystem,

with particular reference to ong>theong>

impact ong>ofong> development. Report to ong>theong>

Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman. Ministry ong>ofong> Overseas

Development, U.K. 27 pp.

Morris M. J. 1986. Long>andong> Use Plan : Jabal

Qara. Pastoral Management Study 1986.

Report from ong>theong> Planning Committee

for Development & Environment in ong>theong>

Souong>theong>rn Region.

Muir-Wright M. T. 1999. The diet ong>ofong> ong>theong>

highly endangered Arabian leopard (Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr). B.Sc. Hons. Thesis:

University ong>ofong> Aberdeen.

Munton P. N. 1985. The Ecology ong>ofong> ong>theong> Ara-

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 31


ian Tahr (Hemitragus jayakari Thomas

1894) ong>andong> a Strategy for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Species. J. Oman Stud. 8, 11-48.

Reade S. N. S., Sale J. B., Gallagher M. D.

ong>andong> Daly R. H. eds. 1980. The Scientific

Results ong>ofong> ong>theong> Oman Flora ong>andong> Fauna

Survey, 1977 (Dhong>ofong>ar). The Journal ong>ofong>

Oman Studies Special Report No. 2. Office

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Government Adviser for ong>Conservationong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment, Diwan ong>ofong>

H. M. for Protocol, Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman,

400 pp.

Spalton J. A. ong>andong> Willis D. 1999. The status

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in Oman: First

results ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard survey. In

The Natural History ong>ofong> Oman: A Festschrift

for Michael Gallagher., ed. M.

Fisher, S.A. Ghazanfar & J.A. Spalton.

147-160. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.

Spalton J. A., Al Hikmani H.M., Willis D.

ong>andong> Bait Said A. S. 2006. Critically

Endangered Arabian leopards Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr persist in ong>theong> Jabal Samhan

Nature Reserve, Oman. Oryx 40, 287-

294.

Thesiger W. 1949. A furong>theong>r journey across

ong>theong> Empty Quarter. Geogr. J. 110, 188-

200.

Thomas, B. 1932) Arabia Felix. Jonathan

Cape Pub. Lond.

Zaroug, M. G. 1983. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> rangelong>andong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> souong>theong>rn region ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong>

Oman (Dhong>ofong>ar) ong>andong> prospects for ong>theong>ir

conservation ong>andong> sustained development.

Unpublished report to Food ong>andong> Agriculture

Organisation ong>ofong> ong>theong> United Nations

– Rome.

Appendix A: Distribution records

Reports classified as confirmed (when

animal remains have been collected,

or animal photographed ong>andong> clearly recognisable)

or unconfirmed (all oong>theong>rs).

Names after records indicate a personal

communication, ong>theong> location ong>ofong> which is

given in notes below.

Musong>andong>am

Confirmed reports

1976: Young female killed, skull collected,

near Limah (N. McNeil 1 ).

1979: Animal shot ong>andong> recovered in

Wadi Maqalayli; (R. Thompson 2 ).

1980: Eight leopards killed, some recovered

whole, parts ong>ofong> oong>theong>rs collected;

female at Al Hawshak, male at Qusaydat,

unknown sex west ong>ofong> Wadi Jellabat,

unknown sex at Al Mintera, male at Algema,

male west ong>ofong> Wadi Jellabat, male 3

at Al Alama ong>andong> female 3 west ong>ofong> Limah

(S. Gordon 4 ).

1981: January, male 3 was killed ong>andong> recovered

near Taf al Qarha; (G. Walker 5 ).

February, adult photographed dead at

Khasab (R. H. Daly 6 ).

1990: February, male shot ong>andong> photographed,

near Khasab (D.M. Fernie 7 ).

1992: November, male killed in Wadi

Zibat on ong>theong> border ong>ofong> Oman ong>andong> Ras Al

Khaimah. Head recovered to Arabian

ong>Leopardong> Trust (G. Feulner 12 ).

1997: October, two leopards caught in a

leghold trap ong>andong> ong>theong>n shot, by men from

outside Oman, on Omani territory close

to ong>theong> border with RAK (David Insall 8 ).

Unconfirmed reports

1994: Locals reported single sightings

at Bait Shaikh, Khasab, Jabal Jemayaim

(D. Insall 8 ).

Oong>theong>r sightings have been documented

for ong>theong> Oman / UAE border (Anon

1995).

Norong>theong>rn Oman

Confirmed reports

Undated: M.P. Butler obtained an incomplete

skin from locals SW ong>ofong> Ibri

(Harrison 1968)

1976: Animal ong>ofong> unknown sex was

shot ong>andong> later photographed near Nakhl

(Gasperetti et al 1986).

Unconfirmed reports

1976: footprints similar to leopard spoor

found near Warrawarra in ong>theong> Wadi Sareen

Reserve (Munton 1985).

1979: Single leopard seen by a local

person in Jabal Alka, to ong>theong> south ong>ofong>

Wadi Sareen (D. Insall 8 ).

Dhong>ofong>ar ong>andong> Central Oman

Confirmed reports

Presence in ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar mountains noted

by Thomas (1932) ong>andong> Thesiger

(1949).

1947: Specimen from Jabal Samhan

(Harrison 1968).

1948/49: Specimen from Dhong>ofong>ar (Harrison

1968).

1977: Two specimens Jabal Samhan;

one recovered dead (Gasperetti et al.

1986) ong>andong> a skin received by ong>theong> Oman

Flora & Fauna Survey, 1977 (Reade et

al. 1980.).

1985: Four animals (2.2) trapped in Jabal

Samhan ong>andong> taken to ong>theong> Breeding

Centre for Omani Mammals (Usher

Smith 1985).

1988: Dead animal photographed near

Sadh (R. Wood 9 ).

1994: Skull ong>andong> oong>theong>r remains ong>ofong> a single

animal near Jibjat (A.G. Boulter 10 ).

1995-2000: Photographs ong>ofong> 17 different

individual leopards made by cameratrap

in Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve

(Spalton & Willis 1999, Spalton et al.

2006).

2001-2005: Six individuals trapped for

fitting with GPS collars in Jabal Samhan

Nature Reserve ong>andong> two in Jabal Qamar

(OACE, unpublished data).

2001-2005: Photographs ong>ofong> 9-11 different

individual leopards made by

camera-trap in Jabals Qara ong>andong> Qamar

(OACE, unpublished data).

Unconfirmed reports:

1994: Single animal reported in Wadi

Mughsayl ong>andong> one in Wadi Jardoom

(Ali Salim Bait Saeed 11 ).

1995: Two adults with three young reported

between Sadh ong>andong> Hadbeen (Ali

Salim Bait Saeed 11 ). Single leopard seen

in Wadi Hanna in 1995, anoong>theong>r in Wadi

‘Aynenya (D. Insall 8 ).

1996: Single animals seen in Wadi Naheez

ong>andong> Wadi Seeq (D. Insall 8 ).

Notes on source ong>ofong> information

1. Office Adviser ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Environment (OACE; PS2/6-10/76)

2. OACE (C6/45/79)

3. also Gasperetti et al 1986

4. OACE (C6/56 & 60 /80)

5. OACE (C6/64-68/81)

6. OACE (with photograph; C6/74/81)

7. OACE (with photographs; PS2A/9/

90)

8. David Insall, pers. comm.

9. Richard Wood, pers. comm.

10. OACE (PS2/29/94), specimen

ONHM 2295

11. Ministry ong>ofong> Regional Municipalities,

Environment & Water Resources.

12. Gary Feulner, pers. comm. February

2003.

32 2006


ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in United Arab Emirates

Jane-Ashley Edmonds 1 , Kevin J. Budd 1 , Abdulaziz al Midfa 2 ong>andong> Christian Gross 3

1

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, PO Box 29922, Sharjah, UAE

2

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority, PO Box 2926, Sharjah, UAE

3

Animal Management Consultancy, PO Box 1022, Umm al Quwain, UAE

Experts estimate ong>theong> wild population ong>ofong> Arabian leopard (Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr) in ong>theong> Norong>theong>rn Emirates

ong>andong> Musong>andong>am Peninsula to be as low as 5–10; however, ong>theong> UAE does not have ong>theong> area capacity to carry a

population larger than 10-20 animals. In recent historic times, ong>theong> caracal is thought to have become an apex

predator in areas not used by ong>theong> Arabian leopard. Its predominance in many wadis may ong>theong>refore serve as

an indicator for declined/extinct leopard populations. Very little is known about ong>theong> primary ong>andong> marginal

habitats ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in ong>theong> UAE, assessment is based on scattered reports ong>andong> knowledge ong>ofong>

leopards from oong>theong>r regions. It is thought that ong>theong> UAE provides a corridor for leopards moving between

ong>theong> Musong>andong>am Peninsula ong>andong> ong>theong> Al Hajar Mountains ong>ofong> Oman, although ong>theong> leopard may be extinct from

ong>theong> Al Hajar Mountains. Accurate data regarding ong>theong> distribution, ecology ong>andong> behaviour ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

leopard will enable suitable protected areas to be planned ong>andong> proposed.

یقدر الخبراء اعداد النمر العربي ‏(بانثرا باردوس نمر)‏ في البریة في الامارات الشمالیة وشبھ

الجزیرة العربیة مسندم منخفضة بحیث لا یتجاوز نمر ، وتعتبر بیئات النمر العربي في

دولة الامارات محدودة المساحة بحیث لا تتحمل أكثر من 20-10 حیوان وذلك حسب طبیعة ھذا

الحیوان البري والذي یحتاج الى مساحات كبیرة كیلو مربع لكل ذكر بالغ).‏

وفي السنوات الاخیرة بدأ ظھور حیوان الوشق كمفترس رئیسي في البیئات التي كان یعیش فیھا

النمر العربي حیث تؤخذ ھذه الظاھرة كمؤشر على اختفاء او إنقراض النمر العربي من بیئاتھ

الطبیعیة،‏ ھذا من ناحیة ومن ناحیة اخرى كان المعلومات عن المواطن الاساسیة والنادرة للنمر

العربي تعتبر شحیحة ، الى ما توفر عن ھذه البیئات في مناطق اخرى.‏

وتعتبر المناطق الواقعة في جبال الحجر لدولة الإمارات مناطق ممر للنمر العربي التي تنتقل من

شبھ جزیرة مسندم وبقیة جبال الحجر في عمان.‏

ومن اجل الحفاظ على النمر العربي فإنھ من المھم ایجاد قاعدة معلومات دقیقة عن توزیع

النمر العربي في البریة ونضم البیئیة التي لعبت فیھا بالاضافة الى سلوكیات ھذا الحیوان

الخجول،‏ مما سیتیح الفرص لإقتراح وإنشاء مناطق محمیة صالحة للنمر العربي.‏

)

10-5

15 )

ong>Statusong>, distribution ong>andong> development ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard population

Limited literature exists upon which to

base an estimate ong>ofong> ong>theong> historical distribution

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in ong>theong>

United Arab Emirates (UAE). Reports,

kills ong>andong> sightings ong>ofong> leopard are rare

ong>andong> recorded knowledge is ong>ofong>ten based

on hearsay.

The Arabian leopard was first recorded

in ong>theong> UAE by Thesiger (1949)

who reported ong>theong> presence ong>ofong> a visiting

leopard on Jebel Hafit (1 in Fig. 1). Hellyer

(1993) also reported leopard on

Jebel Hafit with an account ong>ofong> one that

was shot ong>andong> wounded in 1976. Harrison

(1968) refers to a report from Tyrell

ong>ofong> a leopard shot near Masafi (2 in Fig.

1) in 1962 ong>andong> a leopard sighting is recorded

at ong>theong> Qalidda Pass in Harrison

(1971) ong>andong> Harrison & Bates (1991).

Press reports (1993) document a group

ong>ofong> three leopards that were killed in a

cave in Ras al Kaimah in 1986 (3 in Fig.

1). As leopards do not usually remain in

groups it is assumed that this group was

a moong>theong>r with sub-adult cubs. Anoong>theong>r

leopard was killed in Ras al Khaimah

in May 1993 (5 in Fig. 1); this kill was

apparently corroborated with photographic

evidence (IUCN/SSC ong>Conservationong>

Breeding Specialist Group CBSG

2000). Spalton et. al. (2006) report that

two leopards were killed in ong>theong> Musong>andong>am

in 1997 ong>andong> Jongbloed (2001)

recorded ong>theong> killing ong>ofong> a female in Ras

al Khaimah in 2001 (7 in Fig. 1). Llewellyn-Smith

also found signs thought

to be leopard in Wadi Zeebat in 2001

(Fig. 2 ong>andong> 3). According to Spalton et

al. (2006), ong>theong> last report ong>ofong> leopard in

ong>theong> adjacent Al Hajar Mountain was in

1976. Oman authorities now consider

leopard extinct in this region. Recent

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 33


United Arab Emirates

Fig. 1. Information on protected areas ong>andong> distribution ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in ong>theong> United

Arab Emirates. Protected areas (yellow): A = Ru‘us al Jibal (proposed), B = Al Hajar-Shumayliya

Mountains (proposed), C = Mangrove Community at Khor Kalba (proposed), D =

Jebel Hafit (declared). Observations (black squares): 1 = Jebel Hafit 1976, 2 = near Masafi

1962, 3 = Ras al Kaimah 1986, 4 = near Manama, 5 = Ras al Kaimah 1992 ong>andong> 1993, 6 =

Wadi Shawka 1995, 7 = Ras al Kaimah 2001, 8 = Wadi Wurayah 2004.

field surveys conducted by Biosphere in

2005 found no evidence ong>ofong> leopard in

ong>theong> Musong>andong>am (Spalton et al. 2006).

During ong>theong> course ong>ofong> a field survey in

1995, evidence ong>ofong> leopard sign (tracks in

Wadi Shawka) in ong>theong> UAE was suggested

(6 in Fig. 1), however, ong>theong> authors

express doubt about ong>theong> occurrence ong>ofong>

any resident leopards due to ong>theong> lack ong>ofong>

oong>theong>r signs confirming ong>theong>ir presence

Dubai

7

A

3

5

2 8

4 B

6

C

D

1

Hajar Mountain Range

Oman

(Stuart & Stuart 1995). It should also be

noted that this wadi is known to support

caracals. Caracal ong>andong> leopard are not ong>ofong>ten

found to inhabit ong>theong> same home range

(A. Spalton, pers. comm.).

Faecal samples collected from Wadi

Wurayah were analysed at King Khalid

Wildlife Research Centre (KKWRC) in

Saudi Arabia ong>andong> identified as Arabian

caracal Caracal caracal schmitzi droppings.

In recent historic times, ong>theong> caracal

is thought to have become an apex

predator in areas not used by ong>theong> Arabian

leopard (A. Spalton, pers comm.).

Its predominance in ong>theong>se wadis may

ong>theong>refore serve as an indicator for declined/extinct

leopard populations.

A single footprint was photographed

by D. Egan from a shallow rock cave

in Wadi Wurayah in 2004 (8 in Fig. 1).

The print was found in song>ofong>t powder-like

song>andong> on rock. Size comparisons with

prints ong>ofong> Arabian leopard ong>andong> Arabian

caracal made in song>ofong>t song>andong> at ong>theong> Breeding

Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife (BCEAW), Sharjah indicate

that it is similar in size to those ong>ofong> ong>theong>

leopard but could also be from a large/male

caracal. The print had insect

prints over it. There were no oong>theong>r signs

(faeces, scrape marks, carcass remains

etc.) indicating that ong>theong> cave was used

for any length ong>ofong> time.

During a ong>Conservationong> ong>andong> Assessment

Management Plan (CAMP) workshop

for Arabian Carnivores held in

Sharjah in February 2000, experts estimated

ong>theong> wild population in ong>theong> Norong>theong>rn

Emirates ong>andong> Musong>andong>am Peninsula

to be as low as 5–10 (CBSG 2000). The

home range ong>ofong> Arabian leopards on Jabal

Samhan is about 350 km 2 for males ong>andong>

250 km 2 for females (A. Spalton, pers.

comm.). With an approximate mountain

area ong>ofong> 3,200 km 2 , ong>theong> UAE does not

have ong>theong> capacity to carry a population

larger than 10-20 animals.

Fig. 2 ong>andong> 3. Photos taken in Wadi Zeebat in 2001. The signs are thought to be leopard scraping (left) ong>andong> leopard faeces (right;

Photos R. Llewellyn-Smith).

34 2006


Threats

The general consensus amongst locals

ong>andong> experts is that ong>theong> population is decreasing

at an unsustainable rate. Live

animal trade, trade for parts (pelts) ong>andong>

indiscriminate hunting are thought to

have ong>theong> greatest effect on population

numbers (CBSG 2000). Direct persecution

due to predator-livestock conflicts

occurs ong>andong> local farmers ong>andong> shepherds

are also known to be ong>ofong> ong>theong> opinion that

any predator threatening ong>theong>ir livestock

will be shot.

Competition with man in early

years was restricted by natural factors

such as limited perennial water ong>andong> inability

to easily access wadis containing

water. Farming was limited to ong>theong> carrying

capacity ong>ofong> ong>theong> natural environment.

Recent years have witnessed a

rapid increase in development throughout

ong>theong> UAE as a result ong>ofong> new wealth

generated mainly from ong>theong> discovery

ong>ofong> major oil resources. Construction ong>ofong>

new roads (Fig. 4) ong>andong> highways across

ong>theong> country ong>andong> expansion ong>ofong> ong>theong> many

small villages scattered throughout ong>theong>

mountains has resulted in important

habitat fragmentation for many species.

Improved availability ong>ofong> resources such

as pumped water has led to increased

cultivation (Fig. 5) ong>andong> overexploitation

ong>ofong> limited wadi resources. Also ong>ofong>

enormous impact to ong>theong> loss ong>ofong> viable

habitat is extensive quarrying ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Shumayliya Mountains (Fig. 6) for ong>theong>

construction ong>ofong> multiple ong>ofong>f-shore residential

ong>andong> pleasure islong>andong>s along ong>theong>

UAE coastline.

Hunting ong>andong> increased livestock

numbers have resulted in a decrease

ong>ofong> natural prey species, such as Arabian

tahr Hemitragus jayakari. During

a survey conducted by ong>theong> BCEAW at

perennial water holes ong>ofong> various wadi

branches in ong>theong> Shumayliya Mountains

(B in Fig. 1) it was confirmed that Arabian

tahr do still occur in ong>theong> region but

in very limited numbers. The survey,

which was conducted between June

2000 ong>andong> January 2002, included camera

trapping, behavioural observations

ong>andong> faecal sample collection. During ong>theong>

18-month period only thirteen photographs

ong>ofong> tahr were obtained (Ruddock

2002, Ruddock & Smith 2002). There

were five live animal sightings (Ruddock

& Smith 2002) one ong>ofong> which was

photographed (Fig. 7).

Fig. 4. Construction ong>ofong> roads allows access to

remote areas (Photo J. Edmonds).

Local residents are known to have

limited interest ong>andong> awareness ong>ofong> ong>theong>

natural history ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE. A popular

pastime enjoyed by both locals ong>andong>

expatriates in ong>theong> region is “wadi-” ong>andong>

“dune-bashing”, which requires careful

attention. Aside from ong>theong> impact ong>ofong> noise

ong>andong> disturbance on ong>theong> habitat, problems

such as plant ong>andong> animal destruction,

erosion ong>andong> pollution have a negative

impact on ong>theong>se fragile habitats.

Habitat

ong>Leopardong>s have a wide habitat tolerance

but are generally associated with rocky

hills ong>andong> mountainous ranges (Fig. 9 ong>andong>

10; Skinner & Smiong>theong>rs 1990, Harrison

& Bates 1991). They are said to seldom

venture onto ong>theong> open plains (Harrison

& Bates 1991) however; an individual

trapped in ong>theong> early 1990’s was in fact

caught on ong>theong> open plains near Manama

(4 in Fig. 1). ong>Leopardong>s are believed to

be absent from ong>theong> true desert ong>ofong> ong>theong>

central Arabian peninsula (Harrison &

Bates 1991).

Fig. 5. Widespread farming now occurs in

ong>theong> mountains (Photo J. Edmonds).

The Shumayliya Mountains run

from north to south along ong>theong> east coast

ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE, covering an approximate

area ong>ofong> 3,200km 2 . Scrapings, tracks ong>andong>

kills have all been found in mountain

wadis with permanent water (CBSG

2000, R. Llewellyn-Smith, pers. comm.

ong>andong> D. Egan, pers. comm.).

Not enough is known about ong>theong> habitat

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard to accurately

identify primary or marginal habitat in

ong>theong> UAE, assessment is based on scattered

reports ong>andong> knowledge ong>ofong> leopards

from oong>theong>r regions. It is thought that

ong>theong> UAE provides a corridor for leopards

moving between ong>theong> Musong>andong>am

Peninsula ong>andong> ong>theong> Al Hajar Mountains

ong>ofong> Oman (CBSG 2000). However, it

should be noted that ong>theong> leopard is considered

to be absent from ong>theong> massive

Al Hajar Mountain range in norong>theong>rn

Oman (Spalton et al. 2006) ong>andong> ong>theong> existence

ong>ofong> a corridor today would ong>theong>refore

be redundant.

Whilst ong>theong> leopard itself is said to be

independent ong>ofong> water ong>andong> able to obtain

Fig. 6. Destructive impact ong>ofong> quarrying for ong>theong> construction ong>ofong> multiple ong>ofong>f-shore residential

ong>andong> pleasure islong>andong>s along ong>theong> UAE coastline. This quarry is situated near Wadi Shawka

(Photo J. Edmonds).

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 35


Fig. 7 ong>andong> 8 Evidence ong>ofong> ong>theong> occurrence ong>ofong> Arabian tahr in ong>theong> Shumayliyah Mountains ong>ofong> ong>theong>

UAE. The image on ong>theong> left is ong>theong> single photograph obtained from a live sighting ong>ofong> tahr in

Wadi Wurrayha, photographed by Mike Smith. The image on ong>theong> right is one ong>ofong> ong>theong> 13 photographs

ong>ofong> tahr obtained by camera traps during ong>theong> Shumayliya Mountain survey carried out

by ong>theong> BCEAW between June 2000 ong>andong> January 2002.

Domestic animals

There is very little proong>ofong> that loss ong>ofong> livestock

in ong>theong> UAE is due primarily to

ong>theong> Arabian leopard; although as a result

ong>ofong> a lack ong>ofong> oong>theong>r suitable prey within

ong>theong> leopards’ range it is not unlikely that

livestock is killed. ong>Leopardong>s do have a

widespread reputation as a killer ong>ofong> domestic

livestock (Roberts 1977, Harrison

& Bates 1991).

An informal survey conducted by

Moaz Sawaf on behalf ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

ong>Leopardong> Trust (ALT) during 1993

(Jongbloed 2001) revealed that all farmers

in ong>theong> mountains kept free-ranging

goats, ong>theong> numbers ranging from 50–

500. These goats compete with Arabian

tahr for grazing ground (Fig. 12). A large

portion ong>ofong> ong>theong> farmers questioned (75

%) said that wild predators killed ong>theong>ir

goats from time to time but whilst everyone

questioned had seen caracals, less

than half had ever seen a leopard. Many

ong>ofong> ong>theong> farmers said ong>theong>y would refrain

from hunting ong>theong> leopard if compensation

for lost goats was paid to ong>theong>m. A

later community survey conducted by

Moaz Sawaf on behalf ong>ofong> Chris ong>andong> Tilde

Stuart in 1995 revealed similar statistics

(Stuart & Stuart 1995).

No compensation system for losses

ong>ofong> livestock exists within ong>theong> UAE. Nomoisture

requirements from prey (Skinner

& Smiong>theong>rs 1990), some prey species

occurring in ong>theong> UAE, such as ong>theong>

tahr, are water dependant. Water could

ong>theong>refore be considered a limiting factor

for ong>theong> occurrence ong>ofong> Arabian leopard.

No suitable protected areas exist in

ong>theong> UAE, Jebel Hafit - Ain al Faydah (D

in Fig. 1) near Al Ain has been declared

a National Park. The area covers 11,700

ha. Since 2003, intensive effort has

been employed to eradicate feral sheep

ong>andong> goats from ong>theong> Jebel ong>andong> ong>theong>reby allow

ong>theong> expansion ong>ofong> a healthy tahr population

from ong>theong> present population in

ong>theong> region (C. Drew, pers. comm.). Hatta

Nature Reserve (see map) has been

designated a protected area since 2003.

This long>andong> area covers 16 km 2 . Protection

has been proposed for an area ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Ru’us al-Jibal Mountains (A in Fig. 1)

that is thought to be visited by leopards

(Llewellyn-Smith 2002). The proposal

has yet to be accepted.

During ong>theong>ir study ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE flora

ong>andong> fauna, Chris ong>andong> Tilde Stuart (1995)

suggested ong>theong> Shumayliya–Hajar moun-

Fig. 9. Mountain habitat ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE (Photo

J. Edmonds).

tain region on ong>theong> east coast ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE

be included as a protected area (B in

Fig. 1). If ong>theong> UAE does form an important

corridor for migrating leopards to

move between ong>theong> Hajar Mountains ong>andong>

ong>theong> Musong>andong>am Peninsula, protection ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Shumayliya-Hajar region would reduce

ong>theong> vulnerability ong>ofong> leopards moving

through this north/south corridor

ong>andong> may allow repopulation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Al

Hajar Mountain region.

Prey Species

Although ong>theong>re are no ong>ofong>ficial statistics

to refer to, experts have consistently

concluded that traditional prey species

for ong>theong> Arabian leopard are in a state ong>ofong>

decline (CBSG 2000 ong>andong> 2001, Environment

ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority

2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 ong>andong> 2006).

According to a study ong>ofong> ong>theong> diet ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopards, traditional prey

species in Oman consist ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

tahr Hemitragus jayakari, mountain or

Arabian gazelle Gazella gazella cora,

Ethiopian hedgehog Paraechinus aethiopicus,

small rodents, reptiles ong>andong> even

Fig. 10. Wadi bed in ong>theong> Shumayliyah Mountains

(Photo J. Edmonds).

insects (Muir-Wright 1999). Also identified

by Muir-Wright (1999) as part

ong>ofong> ong>theong> main constituent ong>ofong> a leopard’s

diet is ong>theong> Cape hare Lepus capensus

cheesmani, which is still present on ong>theong>

plains ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE (Drew 2000) ong>andong>

Rock hyrax Procavia capensis. Rock

hyrax (Fig. 11) is not a traditional prey

species in ong>theong> UAE as ong>theong>y are not endemic.

They were however introduced

onto ong>theong> Jebel Hafit ong>andong> a leopard population

existing on or near Jebel Hafit

would likely utilize ong>theong> hyrax as a primary

food source.

Skinner & Smiong>theong>rs (1990) record

that African leopards prey on whatever

is available within ong>theong>ir home range. As

with oong>theong>r leopard sub species, ong>theong> Arabian

leopard is likely to be an opportunistic

hunter ong>andong> it is ong>theong>refore possible

that ong>theong> Blanford’s fox Vulpes cana ong>andong>

White-tailed mongoose Ichneumia albicauda

would form an occasional part ong>ofong>

ong>theong> diet ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard. There is

however, ong>theong>re is no scientific evidence

to support this statement.

36 2006


teworthy with regard to ong>theong>se surveys is

that many locals refer to any large cat or

canid as “nimr” raising ong>theong> question ong>ofong>

data auong>theong>nticity (CBSG 2000, personal

observation). Stuart & Stuart (1995)

also expressed doubt about validity ong>ofong>

data provided in ong>theong>ir survey report.

Methods used for animal management

by locals vary considerably from

tribe to tribe. Many goat herds are free

ranging, although in some areas, particularly

ong>theong> larger villages, ong>theong> herds

are sometimes kept in primitive kraals

(fenced area). A small number ong>ofong> farmers

enclose newborn goats until ong>theong>y

are old enough to keep up with ong>theong> main

herd. Research in ong>theong> Ru’us al Jibal area

ong>ofong> Ras al Kaimah revealed that local tribesmen

employ “herdsmen” to live in

ong>theong> mountain settlements tending ong>theong>

goaong>theong>rds (Jongbloed 2001).

Legal ong>Statusong>

• The Arabian leopard is classified as

Critically Endangered (CR) in ong>theong>

global IUCN Red List.

• Under ong>theong> CITES (Convention on International

Trade in Endangered Species)

treaty it has been listed in Appendix

1 since 1975 ong>andong> is ong>theong>refore

protected from international trade

through UAE custom points.

• Federal Law 11, implemented on 26

April 2003, protects all CITES listed

species. This law does not apply

for species or trade within a country.

Implementation ong>ofong> animal trade laws

within ong>theong> UAE is not consistently

enforced. There is no federal legislation

ong>ofong>ficially protecting ong>theong> Arabian

leopard within ong>theong> country.

• Federal Law no. 24 ong>ofong> 1999 Concerning

Protection ong>andong> Development ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Environment has a single article

(Article 12) that specifically deals

with animals ong>andong> mentions that owning,

hunting, transporting ong>andong> selling

ong>ofong> species referred to in “ong>theong> list” is

forbidden or is subject to licence/permit

from ong>theong> competent authorities.

The list ong>ofong> species protected under

this law has yet to be compiled.

• The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

agreement is an agreement drafted for

ong>theong> preservation ong>ofong> wildlife ong>andong> ong>theong>

conservation ong>ofong> its natural habitats

in ong>theong> Arab Gulf states ong>ofong> ong>theong> GCC.

The agreement has yet to be signed

ong>andong> implemented; however, once en-

Fig. 12. Goats are competing with tahr for grazing ground (camera trap picture ong>ofong> BCEAW).

forced it would cover many issues ong>ofong>

wildlife conservation ong>andong> protection.

There are no CITES laws prohibiting

international trade in any ong>ofong> ong>theong> endemic

prey species i.e. gazelle ong>andong> tahr.

The Arabian gazelle was included in

Appendix 3 ong>ofong> CITES in April 1976 but

was deleted from this category ong>theong> following

year in July.

The only UAE hunting law that exists

is ong>theong> Federal Decree – Law No. 9 for

1983; Regulating ong>theong> Hunting ong>ofong> Birds

ong>andong> Animals. The law states ong>theong> following:

“This law protects certain species

ong>ofong> birds, deer ong>ofong> various kinds, wild

cows, hares ong>andong> Mastigures (spinytailed

lizards).” Gazelle ong>andong> tahr could

be classified into one ong>ofong> ong>theong> categories

mentioned; however, confirmation has

not been possible.

Conflicts ong>andong> public awareness

The leopard will on occasion prey on

domestic livestock (Gasperetti et al.

1985). There are no confirmed records

ong>ofong> ong>theong> frequency ong>ofong> such killings in ong>theong>

UAE; however, ong>theong> leopard or “nimr” is

most ong>ofong>ten blamed for ong>theong> kill. As mentioned

previously, a survey amongst local

farmers revealed that less than half ong>theong>

people questioned had ever even seen a

leopard, however, nearly all ong>theong> farmers

said that ong>theong>y would not hesitate to kill

any predator ong>theong>y encountered. Field

notes by R. Llewellyn-Smith in 1999

(Jongbloed 2001), describe ong>theong> sentiment

ong>ofong> two mountain residents as “relieved

that ong>theong>re were no leopards left,

as ong>theong>y are devils”.

Moaz Sawaf recounted a leopard

sighting on June 13, 1996 by a local

tribesman in Wadi Zeebat (Jongbloed

2001). As a result ong>ofong> contact with Moaz

ong>andong> ong>theong> ALT; ong>theong> tribesman did not shoot

ong>theong> male but raong>theong>r watched it through

binoculars for ten minutes. His parting

comment to Moaz was that he would

not mention this incident to his friends

as ong>theong>y may arrange a hunting party in

order to try to shoot ong>theong> leopard.

During ong>theong> survey conducted on behalf

ong>ofong> Chris ong>andong> Tilde Stuart by Moaz

Sawaf in 1995 it was revealed that only

50 % ong>ofong> ong>theong> farmers knew ong>ofong> any laws

banning hunting. Of ong>theong> farmers inter-

Fig. 11. Rock hyrax, a potential prey species

for leopards in ong>theong> Jebel Hafit (Photo

J. Edmonds).

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 37


viewed 44 % did not feel obliged to

obey such a law ong>andong> would hunt as ong>theong>y

pleased, 94 % felt it was quite acceptable

to kill leopards ong>andong> 81 % said ong>theong>y

would hunt a predator actively wheong>theong>r

or not it threatened ong>theong>ir herds.

Until ong>theong>ir closure in 2001, ong>theong>

ALT was extremely active in promoting

conservation within ong>theong> UAE ong>andong>

maintained ong>theong> Arabian leopard as ong>theong>ir

flagship species. The organisation was

instrumental in organising fund raising

events throughout ong>theong> eight years that

ong>theong>y were active.

A children’s story called “Hayat ong>theong>

Arabian leopard” written by Marycke

Jongbloed sold 5,000 copies in English.

The story was serialized in “Young Times”,

ong>theong> children’s section ong>ofong> a local

newspaper. An Arabic version ong>ofong> ong>theong>

book was printed ong>andong> distributed at

schools in ong>theong> UAE, sponsored by ER-

WDA (Environmental Research ong>andong>

Wildlife Development Agency).

A series ong>ofong> postage stamps depicting

ong>theong> four wild cat species ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE was

issued by ong>theong> General Postal Authority

on October 10, 1994. The leopard has

been featured on UAE telephone cards.

The release ong>ofong> an educational video,

“Long>andong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Nimr” during 1997 in both

English ong>andong> Arabic, sponsored by Shell

ong>andong> produced by World Wildlife Production

included information about ong>theong>

Arabian leopard ong>andong> ong>theong> efforts being

made to save it.

The BCEAW, Sharjah has designed

ong>andong> regularly updates an informative

web page, focusing on all endemic Arabian

wildlife (www.breedingcentresharjah.com).

This is an ongoing educational

tool that has been implemented

since 1999.

The BCEAW, Sharjah organises an

annual ong>Conservationong> Workshop for ong>theong>

Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia on behalf ong>ofong> ong>theong> Environment

ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority.

These workshops have encouraged cooperation

between conservation institutes

on ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula ong>andong> have

also provided international exposure ong>ofong>

conservation efforts within ong>theong> region.

Through ong>theong> workshops, numerous surveys

have been initiated ong>andong> ong>theong> captive

breeding program for Arabian leopard

has become a co-operative ex situ conservation

aide.

Arabia’s Wildlife Centre at ong>theong> Sharjah

Desert Park has a unique public display

ong>ofong> fauna endemic to Arabia. Each

display has general information lecterns

providing basic details about ong>theong> animal

ong>andong> its habits. Large species, including

ong>theong> Arabian leopard have audio facilities

giving interesting facts in English

ong>andong> Arabic.

People ong>andong> institutions

The Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas

Authority (EPAA) ong>ofong> ong>theong> Sharjah Government

supports ong>andong> funds ong>theong> BCE-

AW ong>andong> research work carried out at ong>theong>

centre.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) operates

at a Federal level to address conservation

priorities. There are five main

priorities that ong>theong> WWF presently focus

on, namely 1) marine environment, 2)

species ong>ofong> special concern (for ong>theong> UAE

ong>andong> globally), 3) freshwater environments,

4) climate changes ong>andong> 5) toxic

ong>andong> chemical threats.

The Environment Agency - Abu

Dhabi (EAD) formerly known as ong>theong>

Environment Research ong>andong> Wildlife

Development Agency (ERWDA) is a

government funded organisation based

in Abu Dhabi. EAD conducts wildlife

research ong>andong> regional surveys ong>ofong> Abu

Dhabi. The agency does not have any

direct involvement in leopard projects

at this stage.

Dubai Natural History (DNH) group

ong>andong> Emirates Natural History Group

(ENHG) are non-government wildlife

awareness groups that organise regular

field excursions, wildlife awareness

lectures ong>andong> monthly newsletters. The

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG),

based in Dubai, is actively involved in

promoting environmental awareness in

ong>andong> around Dubai. The group focuses

on wildlife awareness ong>andong> practical

environmental goals such as recycling

waste etc. Student workshops ong>andong> Interschool

environmental competitions

are some ong>ofong> ong>theong> activities also organised

ong>andong> promoted by ong>theong> EEG.

No universities are actively involved

in leopard conservation in ong>theong> UAE

although ong>theong> American University ong>ofong>

Sharjah has recently formed a student

conservation group.

Ongoing work ong>andong> research projects

There is currently no monitoring system

specifically targeting ong>theong> occurrence ong>ofong>

Arabian leopard within ong>theong> UAE. Staff

at ong>theong> BCEAW, Sharjah conducted an

intensive 24-month monitoring project

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian tahr between June 2000

ong>andong> January 2002. The survey was conducted

with ong>theong> use ong>ofong> camera traps ong>andong>

observers in ong>theong> field. The monitoring

site is located within prime leopard habitat

in ong>theong> Shumayliya Mountains along

ong>theong> east coast ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE (see map).

As mentioned previously, ong>theong> survey

project only produced 13 photographs

ong>ofong> tahr which represents 2.1 % ong>ofong> ong>theong>

total number ong>ofong> photographs taken. All

ong>theong> photographs ong>ofong> tahr were ong>ofong> females

ong>andong> ong>ofong>fspring. 1.6 % ong>ofong> ong>theong> photographs

were ong>ofong> Arabian caracal, 2.2 % ong>ofong> ong>theong>

photographs were ong>ofong> Song>andong> partridge,

Red fox appeared in 0.3% ong>ofong> ong>theong> photographs

ong>andong> hedgehogs occurred in 2.8%

ong>ofong> ong>theong> photographs. The vast majority ong>ofong>

ong>theong> photographs (64.7 %) were ong>ofong> feral

goats. Surprisingly, with 26.4 % occurrence,

Blanford’s fox was photographed

more commonly than any ong>ofong> ong>theong> oong>theong>r

endemic species.

The Arabian Tahr ong>Conservationong>

Group (ATCG) plans to implement

an extensive survey ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE in

2006/2007. The presence/absence ong>ofong>

leopard is likely to become apparent through

this survey.

The BCEAW, in conjunction with

Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, USA initiated

genetic research to determine

wheong>theong>r ong>theong>re are in fact two distinct

forms ong>ofong> ong>theong> sub-species Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr within ong>theong> region. Initial

findings indicated that ong>theong>re is no

evidence to support species differentiation

between norong>theong>rn ong>andong> souong>theong>rn

leopards, however ong>theong> sample size was

extremely small. Furong>theong>r investigation

is required with a larger set ong>ofong> samples

to substantiate ong>theong>se findings, with particular

focus on norong>theong>rn specimens as

only 3 samples were available. Furong>theong>r

genetic identification is in progress in

collaboration with Carlos Fernong>andong>es at

Cardiff University, UK.

The collection ong>andong> analysis ong>ofong> morphological

data from captive specimens

is ongoing at ong>theong> BCEAW. The data provides

an average range ong>ofong> measurements

with which to describe ong>theong> subspecies.

The BCEAW, Sharjah sponsored

ong>andong> supported research into ong>theong> reproductive

physiology ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard

which forms ong>theong> ong>theong>sis for a PhD

at Cambridge University. The aim ong>ofong>

38 2006


ong>theong> ong>theong>sis is threefold 1) to establish ong>theong>

normal reproductive physiology ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Arabian leopard, 2) to address infertility

in ong>theong> captive Arabian leopard in terms

ong>ofong> incidence ong>andong> cause ong>andong> 3) to assess

ong>theong> potential use ong>ofong> assisted reproductive

physiology in captive breeding including

semen banking ong>andong> control ong>ofong> ong>theong>

oestrus cycle for artificial insemination,

oocyte retrieval ong>andong> embryo transfer.

Data collection has now been completed

ong>andong> ong>theong> results compiled (de Haas

van Dorsser 2006).

Recommendations

Knowledge ong>ofong> ong>theong> distribution, population

size, biology/ecology ong>andong> behaviour

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard is still very

limited. Furong>theong>r research is essential in

order to plan effective conservation approaches.

Accurate data regarding ong>theong>

distribution, ecology ong>andong> behaviour ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard will enable protected

areas to be planned ong>andong> proposed.

Correct management ong>andong> representation

ong>ofong> ong>theong> captive breeding programme

already established will ensure an

important genetic “reservoir” that can

be used to supplement ong>andong> improve increasingly

threatened wild populations

throughout ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. Of

extreme importance is improved cooperation

between ong>theong> range states ong>ofong> ong>theong>

peninsula to provide ong>theong> largest possible

founder population on which to build

ong>theong> captive genetic pool.

Improved legislation ong>andong> enforcement

protecting ong>theong> leopard ong>andong> its

prey species from trade (national ong>andong>

international) will ensure both long ong>andong>

short-term conservation strategies are

successful.

According to Ogada et al. (2003)

traditional livestock husbong>andong>ry practices

similar to those used in Kenya can make

an important contribution to carnivore

conservation. Livestock that is closely

herded by day ong>andong> corralled at night are

less likely to be killed by wild predators.

Fewer predators would be killed where

fewer predators kill livestock (Ogada et

al. 2003). Implementation ong>ofong> low cost

herding practices among local farmers

ong>andong> education regarding ong>theong> benefits

ong>ofong> herding ong>andong> corralling ong>ofong> livestock

would contribute to reducing humanpredator

conflicts.

Inventory

There are no museum collections known

within ong>theong> UAE.

22 animals are kept in captivity: 20

(12 M, 8 F) at BCEAW, Sharjah, ong>andong> 2

(1 M, 1 F) at Nakhlee Estate, Dubai.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge

ong>theong> support ong>ofong> His Highness Dr.

Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al Qassimi,

Ruler ong>ofong> Sharjah ong>andong> Member ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE

Supreme Council. Thanks are extended to

Dr. David Mallon ong>andong> Dr. Urs Breitenmoser

for ong>theong>ir guidance in preparing this report.

References

CBSG ong>Conservationong> Breeding Specialist

Group (SSC/IUCN). 2000. ong>Conservationong>

Assessment ong>andong> Management Plan

for Arabian Carnivores ong>andong> Population

ong>andong> Habitat Viability Assessment for ong>theong>

Arabian ong>Leopardong> ong>andong> Tahr: Final Report.

ong>Conservationong> Breeding Specialist Group,

Apple Valley, MN.

CBSG ong>Conservationong> Breeding Specialist

Group (SSC/IUCN). 2001. ong>Conservationong>

Assessment ong>andong> Management Plan

(CAMP) for ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> ong>andong>

Arabian Ungulates with Population ong>andong>

Habitat Viability Assessments for ong>theong>

Arabian ong>Leopardong>, Arabian Oryx, ong>andong>

Tahr reports. Arabian leopard: Action

Plan ong>andong> Reports. ong>Conservationong> Breeding

Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN.

CITES. 1998. Checklist ong>ofong> CITES Species.

CITES Secretariat, Geneva World ong>Conservationong>

Monitoring Centre, Geneva,

Switzerlong>andong>.

De Haas van Dorsser F. J. 2006. Reproduction

in ong>theong> Arabian leopard. PhD Dissertation,

University ong>ofong> Cambridge, Newnham

College, Cambridge, UK.

Drew C. 2000. The distribution ong>ofong> ong>theong> Cape

Hare, Lepus capensis, in Abu Dhabi Emirates,

United Arab Emirates. Zoology in

ong>theong> Middle East 20:15-20.

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority.

2002. ong>Conservationong> Assessment ong>andong> Management

Plan for ong>theong> Threatened Fauna

ong>ofong> Arabia’s Mountain Habitat. Arabian

leopard (Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr) Group

Report. Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah, UAE.

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority.

2003. ong>Conservationong> Workshop for

ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia. Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah,

UAE.

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority.

2004. ong>Conservationong> Workshop for

ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia. Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah,

UAE.

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority.

2005. ong>Conservationong> Workshop for

ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia. Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah,

UAE.

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority.

2006. ong>Conservationong> Workshop for

ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia. Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah,

UAE.

Gasperetti J., Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Büttiker W.

1985. The Carnivora ong>ofong> Arabia: Fauna ong>ofong>

Saudi Arabia 7, 397-461.

Harrison D. L. 1971. Observations on some

notable Arabian mammals, with description

ong>ofong> a new gerbil (Gerbillus, Rodentia,

Cricetidae). Mammalia 35, 111-125.

Harrison D. L. ong>andong> Bates, P. J. J. The Mammals

ong>ofong> Arabia. 1991. Second edition.

Lakeside Printing, Sevenoaks, Kent, UK

Pages 167-170.

Hellyer P. 1993. A summary ong>ofong> recent lynx

ong>andong> leopard sightings in ong>theong> norong>theong>rn

UAE ong>andong> Musong>andong>am. Tribulus 3, 23-24.

Jongbloed M. 2001. Working for Wildlife.

Barkers Trident Communications, London,

UK. 96 pp.

Muir-Wright M. T. 1999. The Diet ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Highly Endangered Arabian ong>Leopardong>

(Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr). Thesis for BSc

Honors Zoology degree from ong>theong> University

ong>ofong> Aberdeen, UK.

Nowak R. M. ong>andong> Paradiso J. L. 1993.

Walker’s Mammals ong>ofong> ong>theong> World. 4th

Edition. Volume 2. The John Hopkins

University Press, Baltimore ong>andong> London.

Pp 1089-1091.

Ruddock L. 2002. Report on fieldwork in

ong>theong> Shumayliyah Mountains, UAE for

ong>theong> period January 2001 to January 2002.

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah, UAE.

Ruddock L ong>andong> Smith M. 2002. Arabian

tahr: Disappearing from ong>theong> Hajar Mountains

ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE Breeding Centre for

Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah,

UAE.

Skinner J. D. ong>andong> Smiong>theong>rs R. H. N. 1990.

The Mammals ong>ofong> ong>theong> Souong>theong>rn African

Subregion. University ong>ofong> Pretoria, Pretoria,

Republic ong>ofong> South Africa.

Spalton J. A. ong>andong> Willis D. 1999 The ong>Statusong>

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Oman: First

Results ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Survey.

In The Natural History ong>ofong> Oman: A Festschrift

for Michael Gallagher, Backhuys

Publishers, Leiden. Pp 109-127.

Stuart C ong>andong> Stuart T. 1995. Minute to Midnight.

Report ong>ofong> a scientific survey on ong>theong>

status ong>ofong> indigenous wildlife in ong>theong> United

Arab Emirates executed on behalf ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Trust.

Stuart C. ong>andong> Stuart T. 1995. Mammals ong>ofong>

ong>theong> UAE Mountains. Tribulus 5.2, 20-21.

Thesiger W. 1949. A Furong>theong>r Journey across

ong>theong> Empty Quarter. The Geographical

Journal 113, 21-44.

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 39


History ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard Captive Breeding Programme

Jane-Ashley Edmonds 1 , Kevin J. Budd 1 , Paul Vercammen 1 ong>andong> Abdulaziz al Midfa 2

1

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, PO Box 29922, Sharjah, UAE

2

Environment ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority, PO Box 2926, Sharjah, UAE

The Arabian leopard (Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr) is highly endangered ong>andong> captive breeding has ong>theong>refore become

an essential component ong>ofong> conservation for this species. The Captive Breeding Program has been

operating in its present form since 1999 although ong>theong> first Arabian leopards registered in ong>theong> studbook were

caught in 1985. During ong>theong> 1990’s additional institutions within ong>theong> range states began to acquire leopards

ong>andong> ong>theong> need for a coordinated breeding program became a priority. The Regional Studbook was first published

in its present form in 1999 ong>andong> has been followed by several ong>Conservationong> Assessment ong>andong> Management

workshops through which improved regional cooperation has been initiated. A large proportion ong>ofong>

ong>theong> captive population is wild caught, however, only half ong>ofong> ong>theong>se have produced ong>ofong>fspring in captivity. To

maximise genetic diversity in ong>theong> captive population, it is essential that ong>theong> unrepresented founder animals

contribute to ong>theong> breeding program.

النمر العربي معرض لخطر الانقراض بشكل كبیر وتعتبر المجموعات المتواجدة في الأسر من

المكونات الأساسیة لبرنامج الحفاظ على ھذا النوع.‏

بدأ برنامج إكثار النمر العربي في الأسر منذ عام ‎1999‎م،‏ علماً‏ بأن أول نمر عربي تم تسجیلھ في

كتاب الأنساب للنمر العربي كان في عام وفي التسعینات بدأت مؤسسات معنیة في المنطقة

ومثال على ذ‎1‎لك مركز الإكثار الحیوانات المھددة بالانقراض،‏ في الشارقة،‏ بالاھتمام في البدء

ببرامج إكثار النمر العربي وأصبحت الحاجة إلى وضع برنامج الإكثار في الأسر بشكل منسق بین

مختلف المؤسسات في المنطقة.‏

تم نشر كتاب أنساب ھذا الحیوان،‏ النمر العربي بشكلھ الحالي عام ‎1999‎م أعقبتھ عدة ورش عمل

لتقییم برامج الحفاظ على النمر وخطة إدارة المشاریع الخاصة بذلك ،(CAMP) ما أسھم في تنشیط

وتكثیف برامج التعاون على المستوى الإقلیمي.‏

.1985

Introduction

As extinction rates accelerate, methods

for preserving critically endangered

species such as ong>theong> Arabian leopard

have to be initiated. One such method

is captive breeding, which in ong>theong> case ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard has thus far proven

both a successful ong>andong> invaluable conservation

aide.

Captive breeding programmes ensure

ong>theong> ex situ establishment ong>ofong> healthy

safety net” populations, ong>theong>reby removing

some ong>ofong> ong>theong> pressure to breed successfully

in ong>theong> wild. Captive breeding

programmes also potentially ensure

species survival as human expansion

continues to threaten ong>andong> fragment habitats.

Reintroduction is ong>ofong>ten ong>theong> ultimate

goal ong>ofong> captive breeding programmes.

“Reintroduction” is defined as an

attempt to establish a viable free-ranging

population ong>ofong> a species in an area

which was once part ong>ofong> its historical

range but from which it has become

extinct (IUCN 1995). The concept ong>ofong>

reintroduction ong>ofong> captive-born animals

into ong>theong> wild is, however, constantly

under review as successful reintroductions

are few ong>andong> far between. Success

rates remain below 50 % despite extensive

research into factors influencing

success (Tenhumberg et al. 2004). The

problems faced are immense ong>andong> may

impose considerable biological costs on

ong>theong> populations.

Many experts are ong>ofong> ong>theong> opinion that

ong>theong> Arabian leopard will not survive in

ong>theong> wild without ong>theong> reintroduction ong>ofong>

animals from captive breeding programmes

(IUCN/SSC ong>Conservationong> Breeding

Specialist Group CBSG 2000). It

is ong>theong>refore ong>ofong> utmost urgency that recommendations

are initiated ong>andong> plans

discussed for implementation. The process

for reintroduction is a long one that

should be prepared well in advance ong>ofong>

any potential releases (U. Breitenmoser,

pers. comm.). It is also important that

biodiversity conservation is initiated

prior to ong>theong> implementation ong>ofong> reintroduction

programmes (IUCN 1995).

The captive breeding programme

for Arabian leopard focuses on ensuring

a genetically sound population that

closely resembles ong>theong> wild population.

Co-operation between regional institutes

holding Arabian leopards is essential

to ensure that genes from all ong>theong> wild

caught animals are represented within

ong>theong> population. It is also essential that

international institutes are included in

ong>theong> captive breeding programme for

ong>theong> Arabian leopard to furong>theong>r expong>andong>

growth potential within ong>theong> population.

40 2006


History ong>ofong> ong>theong> Captive Population

Although Harrison (1968) records a wild

caught male “Tedi” in Tel Aviv Zoo in

approximately 1945 ong>andong> a second wild

caught female that died in London Zoo

on ong>theong> 19th ong>ofong> April 1955, a co-ordinated

captive breeding programme for

ong>theong> Arabian leopard was not established

until 1985. Four leopards, two males

ong>andong> two females, were caught on Jebel

Samhan in ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar region ong>ofong> souong>theong>rn

Oman ong>andong> transferred to ong>theong> Oman

Mammal Breeding Centre (OMBC).

The OMBC, situated near Muscat,

is ong>theong> private centre ong>ofong> His Majesty Sultan

Qaboos Bin Said. One ong>ofong> ong>theong> two

captured males died from trauma during

capture ong>andong> translocation, ong>theong> remaining

three animals were incorporated into a

captive breeding programme. It was not

until May 1990 that any ong>ofong> ong>theong> cubs born

were successfully reared by ong>theong> dam.

In ong>theong> United Arab Emirates (UAE),

captive breeding was first initiated in

1995 with ong>theong> transfer ong>ofong> a male from

ong>theong> Republic ong>ofong> Yemen ong>andong> a female

from OMBC. The young leopard was

rescued from an illegal exhibit in Yemen

following months ong>ofong> negotiations between

Christian Gross (for ong>theong> Arabian

ong>Leopardong> Trust) ong>andong> ong>theong> Environment

Protection Authority (EPA) ong>ofong> Yemen.

As experienced in Oman, it took several

years before any cubs were successfully

moong>theong>r-reared at ong>theong> purpose built

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife (BCEAW) in Sharjah. The

centre was commissioned by His Highness

Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed

al Qassimi, Ruler ong>ofong> Sharjah ong>andong> Member

ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE Supreme Council.

The National Wildlife Research

Centre (NWRC) in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia,

obtained its first Arabian leopard,

a wild caught juvenile male, in 1997.

The NWRC forms part ong>ofong> ong>theong> National

Commission for Wildlife ong>Conservationong>

ong>andong> Development (NCWCD) under

ong>theong> Chairmanship ong>ofong> His Highness

Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz. A second

wild caught male was transferred to ong>theong>

NWRC in 1998.

In ong>theong> year 2000 ong>theong> Environment

ong>andong> Protected Areas Authority

(EPAA) in Sharjah hosted a ong>Conservationong>

Assessment ong>andong> Management Plan

(CAMP) workshop. The workshop

paved ong>theong> way for ong>theong> authorisation ong>ofong>

breeding loan agreements between authorities

from Saudi Arabia ong>andong> Sharjah,

which has led to ong>theong> transfer ong>ofong> several

leopards from Ta’if to ong>theong> UAE.

Building on ong>theong> relationship initiated

by Christian Gross in 1995, cooperation

agreements between ong>theong> EPA, Yemen,

ong>andong> ong>theong> EPAA, Sharjah, were signed for

collaborative conservation ong>andong> research

efforts at ong>theong> 2001 annual CAMP workshop.

One ong>ofong> ong>theong> projects included in

ong>theong> cooperation agreement was to improve

ong>theong> health status ong>ofong> ong>theong> animals in

ong>theong> two main zoos in Sana’a ong>andong> Ta’iz.

This project included numerous trips to

Yemen, providing veterinary health ong>andong>

husbong>andong>ry advice ong>andong> basic medical

supplies. Training programmes for ong>theong>

Sana’a Zoo staff at ong>theong> BCEAW were

initiated during 2004. Basing ong>theong>ir management

techniques on those used at ong>theong>

BCEAW, Sana’a Zoo reported ong>theong>ir first

ever moong>theong>r-reared leopard cubs. The

cubs born in October 2004 are also ong>theong>

first captive ong>ofong>fspring born at Sana’a

Zoo to survive beyond ong>theong>ir first year.

Ongoing cooperation between Yemen

ong>andong> ong>theong> EPAA resulted in ong>theong> rescue

ong>ofong> a second wild caught male in 2003

that is now on breeding loan to ong>theong>

BCEAW.

Ta’iz Zoo, Yemen, ceased to participate

in ong>theong> captive breeding programme

shortly after agreeing to cooperate with

ong>theong> regional studbook in 2001. Only

three ong>ofong> ong>theong> six wild caught leopards

held at Ta’iz Zoo have bred in captivity.

It is imperative that ong>theong> unrepresented

wild caught leopards held in this collection

ong>andong> ong>theong> ong>ofong>fspring from those founders

that have bred become available to

ong>theong> captive breeding programme to expong>andong>

ong>theong> current limited bloodlines.

Fig. 1. ong>Leopardong> Nesra at ong>theong> Breeding

Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife,

Sharjah, UAE. She is ong>theong> oldest leopard

recorded in ong>theong> Arabian leopard Studbook

(Photo J. Edmonds).

The Studbook

The Regional Studbook was first compiled

ong>andong> produced in its present form in

1999 when staff from Animal Management

Consultancy accepted ong>theong> task ong>ofong>

coordinating ong>theong> studbook records ong>andong>

advising ong>theong> captive institutions on behalf

ong>ofong> ong>theong> BCEAW. Coordination ong>andong>

management ong>ofong> ong>theong> studbook was taken

over by Kevin Budd in 2001 ong>andong> has

been administered by Jane Edmonds

since 2004. Prior to 1999, ong>theong> OMBC

produced ong>theong> regional records for ong>theong>

captive breeding programme.

The studbook is a policy that provides

a common goal for all captive bree-

Table 1. Number ong>ofong> Arabian leopard in held in various breeding facilities on ong>theong> Arabian

Peninsula. OMBC = Oman Mammal Breeding Centre, BCEAW = Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, UAE. ADWC = Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre. Besides ong>theong> number

ong>ofong> animals housed in ong>theong> respective year, leopards born/died are given in brackets.

Year OMBC BCEAW Ta’if Sana’a Ta’iz ADWC

1999 6 (0/0) 6 (1/0) 2 (0/0) 0 3

2000 6 (0/0) 9 (2/0) 2 (0/0) 4(0/0) 9 (4/1)

2001 5 (0/1) 10 (2/0) 3 (0/0) 4 (1/1) 11 (2/0)

2002 6 (0/0) 13 (4/1) 4 (0/0) 5 (2/1) 11 (unk) 1 (0/0)

2003 6 (0/0) 16 (3/1) 3 (0/0) 4 (0/1) 11 (unk) 1 (0/0)

2004 6 (0/0) 19 (3/0) 3 (0/0) 6 (2/0) 11 (unk) 1 (0/0)

2005 6 (0/0) 22 (2/0) 3 (0/0) 6 (0/0) 11 (unk) 1 (0/0)

2006 5 (0/1) 20 (1/0) 4 (0/0) 4 (0/2) 11 (unk)

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 41


25

20

15

10

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

5

0

Age in years

5

6

0

ADWC OMBC Sana'a Zoo BCEAW NWRC Ta'iz Zoo

Fig. 2. Distribution ong>ofong> Arabian leopard within ong>theong> captive population in 2006.

ADWC Ta'izz Zoo BCEAW NWRC Sana'a Zoo

Fig. 3. Distribution ong>ofong> represented (red) ong>andong> unrepresented (blue) wild caught leopards

within ong>theong> captive population (2006). Unrepresented animals from Abu Dhabi Wildlife

Centre ong>andong> National Wildlife Research Centre were transferred to ong>theong> Breeding Centre

for Endangered Arabian Wildlife at ong>theong> end ong>ofong> ong>theong> 2005 breeding season for inclusion in

ong>theong> breeding programme. The first litters from ong>theong>se animals are anticipated during ong>theong>

2006/2007 breeding season.

22

20

18

16

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0


-4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

20

Number ong>ofong> animals

Fig. 4. Age distribution ong>ofong> ong>theong> captive population 2006.

4

11


ding institutes on ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula

ong>andong> encourages cooperation between

institutes ong>andong> countries. It provides data

for animals that are kept ong>andong> managed

in collections within ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula.

No Arabian leopards are yet held

in captive breeding programmes outside

ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula.

Studbook coordinators use ong>theong> studbook

publication as a tool to recommend

to institutes holding Arabian leopard

how best to manage ong>theong>ir captive

population to maximize total numbers

in captivity, maintain genetic diversity

ong>andong> ultimately create or select founder

populations for possible reintroduction.

Inbreeding ong>andong> loss ong>ofong> genetic diversity

are inevitable in small isolated populations;

breeding recommendations are

ong>theong>refore made to ensure that ong>theong> genetic

integrity ong>ofong> ong>theong> population is maintained.

Careful pair selection ong>andong> management

strategies are advised through ong>theong> studbook.

Strategies are aimed at maintaining

internationally recommended buffer

requirements to be able to support a

population crash in ong>theong> wild.

Current ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Captive Population

The current living population consists ong>ofong>

25.23 (48) leopards with six institutions

registered in ong>theong> Regional Studbook

(Fig. 2). Historically ong>theong>re are 32.32.4

(68) animals recorded in ong>theong> studbook.

The statistics ong>ofong> ong>theong> captive population

show that ong>theong>re is still a large proportion

ong>ofong> ong>theong> known population that has not

bred successfully. Of ong>theong> current living

population, 41.5 % (20) are wild caught,

only ten ong>ofong> which have reproduced in

captivity. To maximize genetic diversity

in ong>theong> captive population, it is critical

that unrepresented founder animals

contribute to ong>theong> breeding programme.

Captive populations should possess atleast

90 % ong>ofong> ong>theong> known genetic diversity

ong>ofong> ong>theong> subspecies to be able to act

as a buffer for ong>theong> remaining wild population.

Representation ong>ofong> wild-caught

founders is ong>theong>refore still a high priority

for ong>theong> region, with particular focus on

ong>theong> three founders registered to NWRC,

Ta‘if, Saudi Arabia. Inclusion ong>ofong> ong>theong>

five (2.3) wild caught leopards at Ta‘iz

Zoo, Yemen in current breeding efforts

is highly desirable but unlikely. In order

to furong>theong>r fulfil international genetic

diversity criteria, ong>theong> captive population

42 2006


will be required to expong>andong> to 200 - 250

individuals.

A large proportion ong>ofong> ong>theong> growth reflected

in ong>theong> captive population during

ong>theong> past five years is as a result ong>ofong> an influx

ong>ofong> wild caught animals raong>theong>r than

due to recommended breeding within

ong>theong> population. It is critical that ong>theong> population

growth begin to reflect ong>theong> genetic

diversity already held in captivity

raong>theong>r than depleting a tiny wild population

that is not yet buffered by ong>theong> captive

breeding programme.

As can be seen from Figure 4, a large

number (64.5 %) ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopards recorded

in ong>theong> captive breeding programme

are within ong>theong> optimum breeding range

ong>ofong> four to twelve years ong>ofong> age. Of ong>theong>

animals within ong>theong> prime breeding age

bracket, fifteen are wild born. There are

eleven leopards considered juvenile (3

years ong>andong> under) ong>andong> two that are geriatric

(over 16 years).

The age at which females become

reproductively inactive is not yet known.

The oldest known female to reproduce

within ong>theong> captive population was 16.5

years ong>ofong> age. This particular female still

displays oestrus behaviour at regular intervals

(~21days). Faecal steroid hormone

analysis carried out as part ong>ofong> a PhD

study on ong>theong> reproductive physiology ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard confirmed ong>theong>se observations.

The oldest leopard recorded in ong>theong>

studbook (Stbk # 03) is a wild caught

female (currently ~22 years old) who

has been in captivity for 21 years. Faecal

steroid hormone analysis showed that

regular ovarian activity ceased at 18-19

years ong>ofong> age. Nesra produced three litters

in captivity, ong>theong> last ong>ofong> which was born

when she was ~11 years ong>ofong> age.

The youngest age at which leopards

have thus far reproduced in ong>theong> captive

programme is three years ong>ofong> age for females

ong>andong> four years ong>ofong> age for males.

Semen evaluation has shown that normal

adult parameters are not attained before

three years ong>ofong> age in ong>theong> male although

puberty is evident from two years (de

Haas van Dorsser & Strick 2005). The

earliest age at which oestrus behaviour

has been noted in a female is twenty two

months; ong>theong> youngest age at which a pregnancy

has been carried to term is three

years. No female younger than four years

has reared a litter ong>ofong> cubs; ong>theong>re is thus far

no record ong>ofong> a dam successfully rearing

Fig. 5. Female Arabian leopard with cubs in ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah, UAE (Photo J. Edmonds).

her first litter within ong>theong> Arabian leopard

captive breeding programme. The

earliest age at which artificial hormonal

stimulation was attempted is three years

ong>ofong> age. Artificial insemination attempts

have thus far been unsuccessful in ong>theong>

Arabian leopard; no pregnancies were

artificially produced during a PhD study

conducted at ong>theong> BCEAW.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge

ong>theong> support ong>ofong> His Highness Dr. Sheikh

Sultan bin Mohammed al Qassimi, Ruler ong>ofong>

Sharjah ong>andong> Member ong>ofong> ong>theong> UAE Supreme

Council. Thanks are extended to Dr. David

Mallon ong>andong> Dr. Urs Breitenmoser for ong>theong>ir

guidance in preparing this report ong>andong> to each

institute that provided current data for ong>theong>ir

breeding programmes. Special mention goes

to Christian Gross, whose efforts ensured that

ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife became a reality.

References

Budd K.J. ong>andong> Edmonds J.A. 2004. Arabian

leopard Regional Studbook (Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr). Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah, United

Arab Emirates.

CITES. 1998. Checklist ong>ofong> CITES Species.

CITES Secretariat, Geneva/World ong>Conservationong>

Monitoring Centre: Geneva,

Switzerlong>andong>.

ong>Conservationong> Breeding Specialist Group.

2000. ong>Conservationong> Breeding Assessment

ong>andong> Management Plan for Arabian

Carnivores ong>andong> Population Habitat ong>andong>

Viability Assessment for ong>theong> Arabian leopard

ong>andong> Arabian Tahr. ong>Conservationong>

Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley,

MN, USA.

De Haas van Dorsser F. J. 2006. Reproduction

in ong>theong> Arabian leopard. PhD Dissertation,

University ong>ofong> Cambridge, Newnham

College, Cambridge, UK.

De Haas van Dorsser F. J. ong>andong> Strick J. A.

2005. Semen characteristics ong>andong> sperm

morphology ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard (Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr) ong>andong> how ong>theong>se vary

with age ong>andong> season. Journal ong>ofong> Reproduction,

Fertility ong>andong> Development 17,

675-682.

Edmonds J. A. 2006. Arabian leopard Regional

Studbook (Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr).

Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian

Wildlife, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Edmonds J. A. ong>andong> Budd K. J. 2005. Arabian

leopard Regional Studbook (Panong>theong>ra

pardus nimr). Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah, United

Arab Emirates.

Harrison. D.L. 1968. The Mammals ong>ofong> Arabia.

Volume 2. Carnivora. Hyracoidea.

Artyodactyla. Ernst Benn Limited, London.

Tenhumberg B., Tyre A. J., Shea K. ong>andong> Possingham

H. P. 2004. Linking Wild ong>andong>

Captive Populations to Maximise Species

Persistence: Optimal Translocation Strategies.

ong>Conservationong> Biology 18, 1304-

1314.

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 43


A Framework for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

Urs Breitenmoser 1 , David Mallon 2 ong>andong> Christine Breitenmoser-Würsten 1

1

KORA, Thunstrasse 31, CH-3074 Muri/Bern, Switzerlong>andong> ,

2

3 Acre St., Glossop, Derbyshire, SK13 8JS, United Kingdom

A Framework for ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>. The Arabian leopard is Critically Endangered

according to IUCN Red List criteria. To secure its survival, a strong partnership between ong>theong> range countries,

but also between governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations, ong>andong> scientists is needed.

Steps in ong>theong> strategic planning for ong>theong> conservation ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard include (1) compilation ong>ofong> baseline

information (status reports), (2) definition ong>ofong> common goals ong>andong> activities at ong>theong> range level (conservation

strategy), ong>andong> (3) ong>theong> definition ong>ofong> tasks ong>andong> actions for each range country (action plans). The ong>Statusong>

Reports published in this issue form ong>theong> basis for ong>theong> development ong>ofong> a range-wide ong>Conservationong> Strategy.

The Strategy should be developed in a participative process using a logistic framework approach, with all

relevant governmental agencies ong>ofong> ong>theong> range countries, important non-governmental organisations, ong>andong> ong>theong>

experts involved. The Strategy should express ong>theong> common will to save ong>theong> Arabian leopard ong>andong> provide

guidance for ong>theong> definition ong>andong> implementation ong>ofong> conservation action in ong>theong> countries, which are ong>theong> management

units. Consequently, it will be ong>ofong> outstong>andong>ing importance that ong>theong> political authorities in charge

ong>ofong> nature conservation in each range country endorse ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> Strategy.

بحسب معاییر الاتحاد الدولي لصون الطبیعة،‏ یعد النمر العربي في وضع التھدید الحرج.‏ ولضمان بقاءه لابد من قیام شراكة

بین الدول التي یعیش فیھا،‏ ویجب أن یكون التعاون بین الجھات الحكومیة والمنظمات غیر الحكومیة والعلماء.‏ تتضمن الخطة

الإستراتجیة لصون النمر العربي الخطوات الآتیة (1) جمع وتصنیف قاعدة معلومات ‏(تقاریر الوضع الراھن)،‏ تحدید

الأھداف المشتركة والأنشطة على مستوى دول الانتشار ‏(إستراتیجیة الصون)‏ و(‏‎3‎‏)‏ تحدید المھام وخطوات العمل لكل دولة

من دول الانتشار ‏(خطط العمل).‏ تمثل تقاریر الوضع الراھن،‏ المنشورة في ھذا الإصدار،‏ الأساس لتطویر إستراتیجیة صون

واسعة المدى،‏ ویجب تطویر الإستراتیجیة في خطوات مشتركة تستخدم فیھا ھیكلیة منطقیة،‏ مع جمیع الجھات الحكومیة ذات

العلاقة في دول الانتشار والمنظمات غیر الحكومیة المھمة والخبراء المعنیین بالأمر.‏ ویجب أن تعبر الإستراتجیة عن الرغبة

المشتركة لإنقاذ النمر العربي وأن تقدم التوجیھ لتحدید وانجاز عملیة الصون في ھذه الدول،‏ والتي تمثل وحدات الإدارة.‏ وبذلك

سیكون من المھم أن یوقع على حمایة البیئة في كل دولة على إستراتجیة الصون.‏

(2)

1. Introduction

The Arabian leopard (Panong>theong>ra pardus

nimr) once roamed throughout ong>theong>

mountains ong>andong> forests ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

Peninsula, from ong>theong> Hajjar Mountains ong>ofong>

south-east Arabia, mountains ong>ofong> Dhong>ofong>ar,

through Hadhramaut to ong>theong> hills north

ong>ofong> Aden north along ong>theong> mountains ong>ofong>

western Yemen ong>andong> along ong>theong> Asir ong>andong>

ong>andong> Hijaz ranges to ong>theong> Jordan Valley

ong>andong> ong>theong> Negev. During ong>theong> 20th century,

ong>theong> distribution area ong>andong> population size

decreased at an alarming rate, though

largely unnoticed. Although ong>theong> present

distribution range is highly fragmented

ong>andong> was already discontinuous in historic

times, ong>theong>re is good evidence that

ong>theong> leopard on ong>theong> Peninsula including

ong>theong> Negev ong>andong> Sinai belong to ong>theong> same

subspecies (see Spalton & Al Hikmani

2006). Since 1996, ong>theong> IUCN/SSC Cat

Specialist Group has listed P. p. nimr as

Critically Endangered in ong>theong> IUCN Red

List, with ong>theong> justification: “The ong>Leopardong>

population ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian peninsula

is estimated to number approximately

100 mature individuals, with a declining

trend, ong>andong> no subpopulation estimated to

contain more than 50 mature individuals”

(www.redlist.org). The ong>Conservationong>

Workshop for ong>theong> Fauna ong>ofong> Arabia

organised annually by ong>theong> Environment

& Protected Areas Authority (EPAA)

ong>ofong> Sharjah has put ong>theong> Arabian leopard

high on its agenda from ong>theong> very first

meeting in 2000. Since ong>theong>n, ong>theong> Captive

Breeding Programme co-ordinated

by ong>theong> Sharjah Breeding Centre for Endangered

Arabian Wildlife (BCEAW)

has made remarkable progress (Fig.

1; Edmonds et al. 2006), securing ong>theong>

survival ong>ofong> ong>theong> taxon in captivity. The

ultimate goal is however ong>theong> conservation

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in ong>theong> wild.

To get started on this difficult road, we

first need to compile baseline data. At

ong>theong> 2003 meeting in Sharjah, ong>theong> Arabian

ong>Leopardong> Working Group decided to

review all information available ong>andong> to

publish country-based ong>Statusong> Reports

(this issue).

The conclusions from ong>theong> Reports

are not at all reassuring. The distribution

range ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard is

extremely fragmented. Only a few population

nuclei remain, scattered along

ong>theong> rugged mountains ong>andong> wadis in ong>theong>

south ong>andong> west ong>ofong> ong>theong> peninsula. Recent

observations are confirmed only for

three localities: ong>theong> very small nuclei

in ong>theong> Negev desert, one ong>ofong> unknown

size in Wada’a north ong>ofong> Sana’a, ong>andong>

ong>theong> largest ong>andong> best-preserved population

in ong>theong> Dhong>ofong>ar mountains in south

Oman, probably stretching into eastern

Yemen. But even ong>theong> largest remnant

population in south-west Oman cannot

44 2006


e considered viable in ong>theong> long-term,

given its small total size ong>andong> isolation.

Several spots in ong>theong> Al-Hijaz mountains

ong>ofong> Saudi Arabia ong>andong> in Yemen which

had known occurrence in ong>theong> 1980s ong>andong>

early 1990s, but with no recent observations,

remain to be surveyed (Al Jumaily

et al. 2006; Judas et al. 2006). An

exchange ong>ofong> individuals between ong>theong>

remaining nuclei seems unlikely. The

quality ong>ofong> ong>theong> information available at

present does not allow for population

estimation; but we believe that ong>theong> effective

population size is clearly below

250 individuals.

Urgent conservation action is required,

but is impeded by ong>theong> fact that

so little information on ong>theong> Arabian leopard

is available. Indeed, ong>theong> only populations

studied ong>andong> monitored in ong>theong>

field are those in Oman (Spalton & Willis

1999) ong>andong> in ong>theong> Negev (Ilani 1980;

1990; Perez et al. 2006). No systematic

research has been done on threats, conflicts

ong>andong> human attitudes, ong>andong> yet, awareness

building, education, ong>andong> capacity

building are imperative. To develop a

sensible conservation action plan ong>andong> to

set priorities in such a situation is not

easy; everything needs to be done at ong>theong>

same time ong>andong> with limited understong>andong>ing,

awareness ong>andong> funding.

Neverong>theong>less, it is necessary to proceed

in a careful ong>andong> well-planned way

in an emergency situation. The ong>Statusong>

Reports provide baseline information

for ong>theong> next steps in planning, which

will be (1) ong>theong> development ong>ofong> a range-wide

conservation strategy for ong>theong>

Arabian leopard, ong>andong>, building on this

general strategy, (2) country-based action

plans. In this paper, we outline ong>theong>

requirements for ong>andong> ong>theong> steps towards

a comprehensive conservation ong>ofong> this

charismatic top predator ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

Peninsula.

Fig. 1. Arabian leopard in ong>theong> Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, Sharjah. The

Arabian leopard is one ong>ofong> ong>theong> smallest ong>andong> most endangered leopard subspecies worldwide

(Photo U. Breitenmoser).

2. Scenario for ong>theong> recovery ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Arabian leopard

The first priority is to assure ong>theong> continued

existence ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard as

a distinct taxon. This is granted through

ong>theong> captive breeding programme (Edmonds

et al. 2006). Then, ong>theong> survival

ong>ofong> ong>theong> remaining wild populations must

be secured. The only one with a good

prognosis is presently ong>theong> population in

Oman. It is ong>theong> largest occurrence, its

core zone is a protected area ong>andong> it is monitored.

The fate ong>ofong> all oong>theong>r nuclei is at

stake. One small population is nowhere

near sufficient to secure ong>theong> survival ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard in ong>theong> wild. Genetic

impoverishment or catastrophic events

could wipe it out. To down-list ong>theong> Arabian

leopard from Critically Endangered

to Endangered according to IUCN

Red List criteria, ong>theong> effective population

size must be over 250 individuals,

that is a total population ong>ofong> about 500

leopards. To regain ong>theong> status ong>ofong> Vulnerable,

ong>theong> population must increase to

an effective size ong>ofong> 2,500 individuals,

which will only be possible through a

considerable expansion ong>ofong> ong>theong> presently

occupied range. This is impossible for

any ong>ofong> ong>theong> present nuclei. A more realistic

scenario is ong>theong> recovery ong>ofong> several

local populations, which ong>theong>n form

a meta-population along ong>theong> mountain

chains ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula. First,

ong>theong> furong>theong>r decline must be stopped ong>andong>

ong>theong> remaining nuclei stabilised. This requires

improvement ong>ofong> habitat ong>andong> prey

populations ong>andong> education ong>ofong> local people.

Still, ong>theong> remnant populations will

likely not be strong enough to regain

lost areas in ong>theong> near future. Specific

measures might be needed, including

reintroduction or restocking using ong>theong>

captive population as a source. A meaningful

merging ong>ofong> in situ ong>andong> ex situ

procedures calls for strategic planning.

3. Strategic conservation planning

To secure ong>theong> survival ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

leopard according to IUCN Red List

criteria is one aspect ong>ofong> its conservation.

Beyond this, ong>theong> leopard is ong>theong> top

predator ong>ofong> ong>theong> regional eco-system,

ong>andong> plays an important role as an umbrella

ong>andong> flagship species (see Simberlong>ofong>f

1998). Such a view implies that ong>theong>

Arabian leopard should be conserved in

all suitable habitats ong>ofong> its historic range

as an integral part ong>ofong> ong>theong> eco-system,

ong>andong> that populations must be maintained

or restored in all range countries.

For effective international co-operation,

we need strong partnership ong>andong> an

agreement on long-term goals, hence a

conservation strategy endorsed by ong>theong>

national authorities.

The Partnership must include (1)

national governmental organisations,

providing political guidance ong>andong> responsible

for legal aspects (laws on

nature conservation, protected areas,

etc.) ong>andong> implementation ong>ofong> conservation

actions agreed, (2) non-governmental

organisations ong>andong> interest groups,

which can support leopard conservation

in many ways, e.g. stakeholder involvement,

education, raising awareness ong>andong>

fundraising, ong>andong> (3) scientific experts,

responsible for compiling (biological)

baseline information, surveys ong>andong> monitoring

using adequate methods. In this

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 45


Fig. 2. Triangle ong>ofong> ong>Conservationong>. In conservation

programmes, ong>theong> institutions at each

ong>ofong> ong>theong> corners play important, but different

roles, which need to be coordinated. Governmental

organisations are responsible

for legislation, law enforcement, management,

ong>andong> education; scientists provide

(ecological) baseline knowledge ong>andong> do

ong>theong> monitoring; non-governmental organisations

are ong>ofong>ten ong>theong> front-runners ong>ofong> conservation

projects, which raise awareness,

provide first funding ong>andong> education.

Fig. 3. Arabian ong>Leopardong> Working Group at ong>theong> 2006 CAMP meeting in Sharjah, UAE (Photo

U. Breitenmoser).

“triangle ong>ofong> conservation” (Fig. 2), each

partner plays a different ong>andong> important

role. The pact does not only include

agreement on long-term goals ong>andong> cooperation,

but also mutual consultation,

supervision ong>andong>, whenever needed,

constructive criticism.

Partnership agreement, general

goals ong>andong> common activities are settled

in a range-wide ong>Conservationong> Strategy.

The Strategy is a prevailing document

providing guidance for on-ong>theong>-ground

Threats

Vision

Goal

Objetives

Targets

Activities

Fig. 4. Logistic framework pyramid for ong>theong>

development ong>ofong> a conservation strategy in a

participative process. The group first formulates

a common vision ong>andong> a more concrete

goal. The identification ong>ofong> threats ong>andong> ong>theong>

goal allow defining more concrete objectives,

targets, ong>andong> activities. The pyramid represents

also a time scale. The vision describes

a long-term perspective, ong>theong> goal a state

to be reached within 10–20 years, ong>andong> ong>theong>

activities finally actions to be done within

ong>theong> next 1–3 years.

activities. The political authorities ong>ofong>

ong>theong> range countries must endorse ong>theong>

Strategy, so that all implementing agencies

can act according to ong>theong> principles

agreed upon in ong>theong> Strategy. The Strategy

is developed in a participative process

(Fig. 3) using a logistic framework

approach involving all partners ong>ofong> ong>theong>

“triangle”. The LogFrame (Fig. 4) defines

goals, objectives, ong>andong> actions on

ong>theong> (international) range level ong>andong> for

overriding activities such as ong>theong> captive

breeding programme, ong>andong> it is a binding

agreement for ong>theong> development ong>ofong> more

specific action plans.

National Action Plans are tools for

ong>theong> definition ong>andong> implementation ong>ofong> ong>theong>

target-driven conservation actions according

to ong>theong> long-term goals defined

in ong>theong> Strategy. Countries are ong>theong> management

units under a common jurisdiction,

management structure ong>andong> budgets.

Hence specific assignments must

be defined ong>andong> implemented on this level.

Action Plans are, like ong>theong> Strategy,

developed in a participative process involving

all partners ong>andong> institutions that

will have to implement ong>theong> plan or will

be affected by its implementation, such

as local people or interest groups. Compared

to ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> Strategy, an

Action Plan is more specific in regard

to places, procedures, actors, ong>andong> deadlines,

ong>andong> should be regularly revised

ong>andong> adapted.

4. Research, survey ong>andong> monitoring

Research ong>andong> monitoring using approved

methods must be an integral part

ong>ofong> any conservation programme. On

one hong>andong>, reliable information is fundamental

to development ong>ofong> sound ong>andong>

target-driven conservation activities,

ong>andong> on ong>theong> oong>theong>r hong>andong>, all conservation

programmes need careful monitoring

allowing for continuous adaptation ong>ofong>

procedures ong>andong> actions. We still have

considerable gaps in our basic knowledge

regarding biology ong>andong> ecology ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard ong>andong> in our understong>andong>ing

ong>ofong> ong>theong> threats causing its decline.

More specific information is e.g.

needed in ong>theong> following domains:

(1) Distribution ong>andong> status ong>ofong> leopards

in Yemen ong>andong> Saudi Arabia. The

distribution nuclei indicated in ong>theong>se

two countries (this issue) are mainly

concluded from unconfirmed observations.

Sound initial surveys followed

by continuous monitoring must

have high priority for all potential

leopard areas.

(2) The identification ong>ofong> threats ong>andong>

conflicts are not based on explicit

investigations, but raong>theong>r on general

assumptions. To tailor conservation

actions specifically for a certain

area, understong>andong>ing ong>theong> local

people’s attitudes towards leopards

is important.

(3) Depletion ong>ofong> wild prey is believed to

be a major reason for ong>theong> decline ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard, but its diet ong>andong>

feeding ecology is not understood.

A preliminary study by Muir-Wright

1999 (quoted in Spalton et al. 2006)

46 2006


Target

Action

Monitoring

Result

Decision

End ong>ofong> Project

Results =

Objectives

Results Objectives

Fig. 5. Flowchart for ong>theong> monitoring ong>ofong> a

conservation project. Monitoring is an important

component ong>ofong> any conservation activity,

not only to compare ong>theong> (preliminary)

results with ong>theong> pre-defined target, but also

to recognise errors. Most conservation programmes

are adaptive processes, needing

continuous assessment ong>andong> adjustment.

The monitoring is continued as long as ong>theong>

results do not mach ong>theong> objectives defined

at ong>theong> beginning ong>ofong> ong>theong> project.

ong>ofong> 74 leopards scats collected in Jabal

Samhan NR found Arabian gazelle

(Gazella gazella) ong>andong> Nubian ibex (Capra

nubiana) to be ong>theong> most important

prey, followed by Cape hare (Lepus

capensis cheesmani), rock hyrax, birds,

Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica),

Ethiopian hedgehog (Paraechinus

aethiopicus), small rodents ong>andong> insects.

Judas et al. (2006) note that in Saudi

Arabia gazelles ong>andong> ibex have become

rare, but ong>theong>y assume that ong>theong> still common

hyrax ong>andong> even sacred baboons

(Papio hamadryas) could be important

alternative prey. Obviously, ong>theong> exploitation

ong>ofong> prey ong>ofong> such diverging size,

distribution, ong>andong> social set-up must have

consequences for ong>theong> leopard’s behaviour,

distribution, vulnerability to environmental

changes, ong>andong> conflict with

livestock husbong>andong>ry. Understong>andong>ing ong>theong>

leopard’s feeding ecology is ong>ofong> utmost

importance for any recovery plan.

Monitoring is crucial for ong>theong> control

ong>ofong> success ong>andong> ong>theong> adaptive management

ong>ofong> any conservation programme

(Fig. 5). Many different things can be

monitored, like size ong>andong> distribution

ong>ofong> ong>theong> leopard population, dynamics ong>ofong>

prey populations, changes in human attitudes,

etc. Monitoring is a demong>andong>ing,

time-consuming ong>andong> expensive task,

ong>andong> a particular challenge in ong>theong> rugged

ong>andong> remote mountains ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian

Peninsula. Well-planned co-operation

ong>andong> co-ordination between countries

ong>andong> agencies can however assist ong>theong>

monitoring through stong>andong>ardisation,

calibration ong>andong> adaptation ong>ofong> methods

according to ong>theong> principles ong>ofong> stratified

monitoring (Breitenmoser et al. 2006).

Co-operation between countries ong>andong>

institutions ong>andong> ong>theong> principle ong>ofong> adaptive

processes go along with reporting. Both

on national ong>andong> range-wide level, progress

ong>andong> failures need to be continuously

assessed ong>andong> necessary adaptations

identified. On an international level, ong>theong>

annual conservation workshop in Sharjah

would ong>ofong>fer a perfect forum for ong>theong>

review ong>ofong> ong>theong> progress in implementing

ong>theong> actions defined in ong>theong> ong>Conservationong>

Strategy ong>andong> in ong>theong> Action Plans, ong>andong> to

discuss necessary changes.

5. Conclusions

The aim ong>ofong> strategic planning in conservation

is to implement on-ong>theong>-ground

conservation actions. The development

ong>ofong> strategies ong>andong> plans will not save ong>theong>

Arabian leopard on ong>theong>ir own, but actions

in ong>theong> field will. The situation ong>ofong>

ong>theong> Arabian leopard is critical, ong>andong> we

cannot afford to lose time. Neverong>theong>less,

jumping into action without sound baseline

information ong>andong> without careful

planning ong>andong> prioritisation ong>ofong> activities

may, in ong>theong> long run, cost a lot ong>ofong> money

ong>andong> time. In conservation, time is one

ong>ofong> ong>theong> most difficult aspects to assess.

We most ong>ofong>ten do not understong>andong> ong>theong>

dynamics ong>ofong> ong>theong> processes well enough

to estimate how much time we have left

ong>andong> how much time we will need. We

must be prepared to act immediately

ong>andong> to go on for a long time. This requires

a very firm commitment from all

partners involved, including ong>theong> political

authorities that will have to endorse ong>theong>

ong>Conservationong> Strategy ong>andong> hence place

an obligation on ong>theong>ir wildlife conservation

ong>andong> management agencies.

Yet, ong>theong> Arabian leopard as ong>theong> top

predator ong>ofong> ong>theong> peninsula will serve as a

flagship ong>andong> umbrella species not only

in ong>theong> ecological sense ong>ofong> ong>theong> term. Partnership

agreements, strategic planning,

implementation ong>andong> monitoring could

become a model case for many oong>theong>r

important co-operative conservation

programmes on ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula.

References

Al Jumaily A., Mallon D. P., Nasher A. K.

ong>andong> Thowabeh N. 2006. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Arabian leopard in Yemen. Cat News

Special Issue 1, 20-25.

Breitenmoser U., Breitenmoser-Würsten

Ch., von Arx M., Zimmermann F., Molinari

P., Molinari-Jobin A., Ryser A.,

Siegenthaler A., Angst A., Linnell J. ong>andong>

Weber J.-M. 2006. Guidelines for ong>theong>

Monitoring ong>ofong> Lynx. KORA Report 33,

31 pp.

Edmonds J. A., Budd K. J. Vercammen P.

ong>andong> Al-Midfa A. 2006. History ong>ofong> ong>theong>

Arabian ong>Leopardong> Captive Breeding

Programme. Cat News Special Issue 1,

40-43.

Ilani G. 1980. The leopards ong>ofong> ong>theong> Judean

desert. Israel Long>andong> ong>andong> Nature 6, 59-71.

Ilani G. 1990. ong>Leopardong> Panong>theong>ra pardus in

Israel. Cat News 12, 4-5.

Judas J., Paillat P., Khoja A. ong>andong> Boug A.

2006. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in

Saudi Arabia. Cat News Special Issue

1, 11-19.

Perez I., Geffen E. ong>andong> Mokady O. 2006.

Critically Endangered Arabian leopards

Panong>theong>ra pardus nimr in Israel: estimating

population parameters using molecular

scatology. Oryx 40, 295-301.

Simberlong>ofong>f D. 1998. Flagships, umbrellas,

ong>andong> keystones: is single-species management

passé in ong>theong> long>andong>scape era

Biol.Conserv. 83, 247- 257.

Spalton J. A. ong>andong> Al Hikmani H. M. 2006.

The leopard in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula

– distribution ong>andong> subspecies status. Cat

News Special Issue 1, 4-8.

Spalton J. A. ong>andong> Willis D. 1999. The status

ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard in Oman: First

results ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian leopard survey.

In Fisher M., Ghazanfar S. A. ong>andong> Spalton

J. A. (eds.). The Natural History ong>ofong>

Oman: A Festschrift for Michael Gallagher.

Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp

147-160.

Spalton J. A., Al Hikmani H. M., Jahdhami

M. H., Ibrahim A. A. A., Bait Said

A. S. ong>andong> Willis D. 2006. ong>Statusong> report

for ong>theong> Arabian leopard in ong>theong> Sultanate

ong>ofong> Oman. Cat News Special Issue 1,

26-32.

CAT News Special Issue 1 – Arabian ong>Leopardong> 47


Cat News Special Issue No 1 2006

Contents

1. Forword by Abdulaziz A. al Midfa.................................................................................................3

2. The ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Arabian Peninsula - Distribution ong>andong> Subspecies ong>Statusong>

by J. A. Spalton ong>andong> H. M. Al Hikmani........................................................................................ 4

3. The ong>Leopardong> in Jordan by M. Qarqaz ong>andong> M. A. Baker.............................................................. 9

4. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Saudi Arabia

by J. Judas, P. Paillat, A. Khoja ong>andong> A. Boug............................................................................. 11

5. ong>Statusong> Report on Arabian ong>Leopardong> in Yemen

by M. Al Jumaily, D. P. Mallon, A. K. Nasher ong>andong> N. Thowabeh............................................... 20

6. ong>Statusong> Report For ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> Sultanate ong>ofong> Oman

by J. A. Spalton, H. M. Al Hikmani, M. H. Jahdhami, A. A. A. Ibrahim,

A. S. Bait Said ong>andong> D. Willis...................................................................................................... 26

7. ong>Statusong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> in ong>theong> United Arab Emirates

by J-A. Edmonds, K. J. Budd, A. al Midfa ong>andong> Ch. Gross.......................................................... 33

8. History ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong> Captive Breeding Programme

by J.-A. Edmonds, K. J. Budd, P. Vercammen ong>andong> A. al Midfa.................................................. 40

9. A Framework For ong>theong> ong>Conservationong> ong>ofong> ong>theong> Arabian ong>Leopardong>

by U. Breitenmoser, D. P. Mallon ong>andong> Ch. Breitenmoser-Würsten............................................. 44

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines