Arabian leopard

The Life of Animals | Arabian leopard | The Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) is a leopard subspecies native to the Arabian Peninsula and classified as critically endangered by IUCN since 1996. Less than 200 animals remained in 2006, and the population trend is decreasing The Arabian leopard is the smallest leopard subspecies The Arabian leopard was tentatively affirmed as a distinct subspecies by genetic analysis from a single captive leopard from Israel of south Arabian origin, which appeared most closely related to the African leopard

The Arabian leopard has pelage hues that vary from pale yellow to deep golden or tawny and are patterned with rosettes  At a weight of about 30 kg (66 lb) for the male and around 20 kg (44 lb) for the female, the Arabian leopard is much smaller than the African Leopard and other Asian subspecies. The geographic range is poorly understood but generally considered as limited to the Arabian Peninsula, including Egypt's Sinai Peninsula Until the late 1960s, the Arabian leopard was widely distributed in the Arabian Peninsula. 

A few individuals survive in the Judean Desert and Negev Highlands while in the Arabian Peninsula leopards are known from just one location in Yemen and one in Oman  The largest confirmed subpopulation inhabits the Dhofar Mountains of southern Oman. Camera trapping has identified 17 individual adult leopards since 1997 in the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve Camera trapping has confirmed the presence of 9–11 leopards in the mountains that run west of the reserve to the Yemen border Leopards occupy remote and rugged high-mountain areas that provide security and vantage points. In the arid terrain of their habitat, Arabian leopards require large territories in order to find enough food and water to survive. The Arabian leopard seems to concentrate on small-to-medium-sized prey species such as mountain gazelle, Arabian tahr, rock hyrax, hares, birds and possibly lizards and insects. 

Three confirmed separate subpopulations remain on the Arabian Peninsula with fewer than estimated 200 leopards The Arabian leopard is threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation; hunting of its wild prey, and retaliatory killing in defense of livestock.  The actual distribution of the leopard in Arabia is not known exactly, mainly due to habitat destruction, killing and lack of ecological studies. Some reports indicate that the leopard population has decreased drastically in Arabia due to killing by shepherds and villagers after leopard raids on their livestock making them an enemy of farmers. In addition, hunting of leopard prey such as hyrax and ibex by local people; habitat fragmentation, especially in the Sarawat Mountains, have made the survival of the leopard uncertain The reduced leopard population in Arabia requires immediate action to avoid further losses and extinction.

Together with the killing and poisoning of the leopard, decreased availability of prey might bring about its extinction Other reasons for killing leopards are for personal satisfaction and pride, traditional medicine and hides. Some leopards are killed accidentally when eating poisoned carcasses intended for wolves and hyenas Among products being sold in the tent city of Mina, Saudi Arabia after the Haj of 2010, also skins of Arabian leopards poached in Yemen were offered The 4,500 km2 (1,700 sq mi) Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve was established in 1997 after camera trap records of leopards were obtained; camera trapping since then has identified 17 individual adult leopards, including one cub A detailed study of leopard distribution and habitat requirement is needed for the management of the species. A successful conservation strategy must promote the awareness of the importance of leopard conservation, employing the media and perhaps other sources for basic education programs. The support and involvement of people living close to leopard habitats are vital in such efforts.

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