International Day of the Arabian Leopard Date in the current year: February 10, 2024

International Day of the Arabian Leopard The International Day of the Arabian Leopard, also known as Arabian Leopard Day, is a United Nations observance held annually on February 10. It was created to raise awareness of the critically endangered status of the smallest subspecies of the leopard.

The leopard (Panthera pardus) has eight living subspecies: the African leopard, the Amur leopard, the Anatolian leopard, the Arabian leopard, the Indian leopard, the Indochinese leopard, the Javan leopard, and the Sri Lankan leopard. The leopard as a species is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but some leopard subspecies are classified as endangered or even critically endangered in their respective ranges. One of them is the Arabian leopard.

The Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) is native to Arabian Peninsula, just as its name suggests. It was first described by German naturalists Wilhelm Hemprich and Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg in 1830 during their expedition to the Middle East. The Arabian leopard was widely distributed throughout the Arabian Peninsula until the late 1970s, but the situation has changed for the worse since then.

Today, the population of the Arabian leopard is very small, with fewer than an estimated 200 individuals alive in the wild, and highly fragmented. There are three isolated populations of the subspecies in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. It is thought to be regionally extinct or at least extremely rare in Egypt (the Sinai Peninsula), Israel, Jordan, and the UAE.

The main threats faced by the Arabian leopard are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation; retaliatory killing by villagers and shepherds to defend livestock; prey depletion caused by unregulated hunting of natural prey species such as ibexes and hyraxes; and illegal wildlife trade.

The celebration of Arabian Leopard Day was initiated in February 2022 by the Saudi Council of Minister to raise awareness of the conservation status of the Arabian leopard and protect the species. In June 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating February 10 as the International Day of the Arabian Leopard, and the inaugural international observance took place on February 10, 2024.

Arabian Leopard Day events are organized by conservation organizations, government agencies, local communities, and other stakeholders in different countries. They include, but are not limited to, public awareness campaigns (documentary screenings, open lectures, outreach programs), conservation seminars and workshops, school and community events (art and writing competitions, presentations), fundraising events, community-based conservation efforts, social media campaigns, advocacy campaigns, and more.

There are many ways to get involved with the International Day of the Arabian Leopard. You can learn more about the Arabian leopard and the dangers it faces, donate to a conservation organization that helps to save the Arabian leopard and preserve its habitat, organize an awareness event in your community, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #ArabianLeopardDay.

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