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arabian leopard saudi arabia



As a company driven by making a genuine impact, and following the launch of the Pelorus Foundation, we continue to promote sustainable awareness across the globe. With Saudi Arabia opening year-round to tourists, we’re very excited to see this fascinating destination present some inspiring sustainability efforts.

We caught up with the Royal Commission for AlUla to discuss a pioneering project aiming to protect the region’s natural environment and native species.

Why has AlUla been selected as a ‘must-visit’ culture and heritage destination?

AlUla is a unique open-air living museum, home to over 200,000 years of human history. This remarkable time-capsule has been opened to offer a new understanding of early humans and Arabian civilisations. Its unique geology, history and incredible landscapes make the region an alluring destination for discerning travellers who seek meaningful, authentic travel experiences.

Desert plains in Saudi Arabia

“With a focus firmly on conservation and light-touch tourism experiences, AlUla’s sensitive development will set the benchmark for sustainable tourism globally.”

No other destination in Saudi Arabia offers the same mixture of heritage, landscapes, activities and events, making AlUla an extraordinary place to discover.

Please could you describe the area of Sharaan?

In addition to its enchanting history and culture, AlUla is home to a raw, breath-taking wilderness and an array of diverse flora and fauna. Sharaan Nature Reserve is comprised of 1,500 square kilometres of soaring red-rock canyons, sprawling desert, and valleys carpeted in delicate wildflowers. It is a treasure trove of natural wonders.

Did human impact encourage the area to be transformed into a designated Nature Reserve?

The introduction of domestic livestock to the region has decimated the native vegetation, with severe overgrazing leading to desertification and habitat degradation. There is an urgent need to reverse this concerning decline, and restore this fragile desert ecosystem, so it can support thriving life once again.

What is the paramount aim of Sharaan Nature Reserve?

The mission of Sharaan Nature Reserve is to restore, protect and conserve the sensitive ecosystem native to AlUla. Thoughtfully designed to protect some of the region’s most important natural habitats, the Reserve will connect areas of significant ecological value. Ultimately, Sharaan Nature Reserve aims to conserve the region’s biodiversity through preserving, restoring and reinforcing native vegetation, habitats, fauna and other threatened species.

nubian ibex saudi arabia sharaan nature reserve a collection of camels in the desert, AlUla, Saudi
Saudi Arabia Al Ula Pelorus rock hyrax sharaan nature reserve saudi arabia

With environmental conservation at the forefront of Pelorus’ actions, we would love to hear more about the flora and fauna that will be protected.

The region of Sharaan features varying desert habitats that once supported a plethora of native flora and fauna species. This included Nubian Ibex, Red-Necked Ostrich and the elusive Arabian Leopard. Following a recovery of flora and herbivorous species, there will be more natural prey for predators such as the Arabian Wolf and Red Fox to feed on. We are then likely to see population numbers rise.

We’ve heard exciting news around Arabian Leopard conservation – will the reserve support this effort?

The Royal Commission for AlUla is committed to protecting and conserving the critically endangered Arabian Leopard. The long-term goal for the Reserve is to reintroduce Arabian Leopards with a restored habitat and level of prey which will be sufficient enough to build population numbers.

How will local communities contribute to the Reserve’s conservation goals?

Local communities will contribute through an Environmentally Sensitive Rangeland Scheme whereby camel and livestock numbers will be reduced to support aims to restore native vegetation. The Reserve will significantly benefit local communities through the provision of employment opportunities as rangers, guides, educators, and other roles in the ecotourism sector.

What do you see for the future of Sharaan Nature Reserve and the consequent impact for AlUla?

For AlUla, the Reserve will further develop its thriving economy through the creation of new ecotourism and conservation sectors. Committed to ensuring environmental sustainability, Sharaan Nature Reserve will work to protect and rehabilitate the natural landscape.


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