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Must-See Wildlife In Saudi Arabia, Top Reserves And Sanctuaries

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Saudi Arabia boasts of a vast and diverse wildlife population. Wildlife in Saudi Arabia is a huge attraction for tourists. Tourists can view some of the rarest animals and birds in their natural environment during their visit to Saudi Arabia. Around 82,000 sq. km. of the country’s land is protected and preserved for wildlife conservation. With such an extensive area and diverse wildlife, tourists and nature lovers visiting Saudi Arabia can get a glimpse of these wild creatures.

Predators of Saudi Arabia

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Undoubtedly, the Arabian leopard is one of the must see animals that tourists enjoy watching on a Saudi Arabian safari. It is one of the most feared wild animals in Saudi Arabia. The leopard prey on any and everything that it can find in the harsh conditions of the desert.

The striped hyena, generally seen in the northern Saudi Arabian region, is another dangerous animal in the kingdom. They run at dazzling speeds to prey on animals like porcupines and wild boars. It is difficult to spot one on a safari as they are highly nocturnal and wander out only in the pitch dark.

The most dangerous animals in Saudi Arabia include some deadly snakes such as the Indian saw-scaled viper, the Arabian Gulf sea snake, the deathstalker scorpion, and the Samsum ant. They all carry deadly venom and can deliver a fatal bite. Other dangerous animals in Saudi Arabia include the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion and the camel spider.

Endangered animals in Saudi Arabia

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Due to encroachment on the natural environment and unauthorized hunting, many species of animals have become endangered over the years. One of the critically endangered animals in Saudi Arabia is the Arabian leopard. According to a survey only around 200 of these leopards survived in the wild in 2006.

The once nearly extinct Arabian oryx is preserved in the Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area, a fenced-in reserve. The Uruq Bani Ma’arid protected area is home to the mountain gazelle and goitered gazelle. Owing to the efforts of government and local authorities, the species has been brought back to the endangered category and saved from extinction. The number of sand cats has also improved due to the efforts by the National Center for wildlife in Saudi Arabia.

Other animals that are extinct or are facing the risk of imminent extinction include striped hyenas, honey badgers, and golden jackals. The government has been relentlessly pursuing conservation efforts and breeding programs to save these animals.

Notable wildlife of Saudi Arabia

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Arabian wolf, caracal, hamadryas baboon and desert hedgehog are some of the most famous animals in Saudi Arabia. The birds common in Saudi Arabia are eagles, quails, larks, pelicans, and gulls. Also, the swallows, storks, and flamingos migrate to Saudi during the migratory season.

Top 3 wildlife parks in Saudi Arabia

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1. Nofa Wildlife Park

Spread in a vast area, the park is home to some of the rarest and most dangerous animal species. Tourists visiting the wildlife park can immerse themselves in watching and experiencing these majestic creatures from some meters apart.

Top species of animal to spot: The park has predators like tigers and lions. Along with it, tourists can find giraffes, ostriches, sables, zebras, and eland.

Timings: One can visit the park throughout the year. The park is open from Saturday to Thursday from 8.30 AM to 3.30 PM.

2. Oroug Bani M’aradh Wildlife Sanctuary

This famous wildlife sanctuary is in a protected area in Saudi Arabia. It is located on the western end of the world’s largest sandy desert, Rub’ al Khali, The park has a hunting zone and a core nature reserve clearly segmented into different areas.

Top species of animal to spot: Arabian sand gazelle, Arabian oryx, Ruppell fox, and sand cat

Timings: The sanctuary is open on all days. Evening times are a little busy, and hence it is better to avoid evening visits.

Suggested Read: Saudi Arabian Deserts: For An Unusual Adventure In The Arid Dunes

3. At-Taysiyah Natural Reserve

The natural reserve located northeast of Saudi Arabia is famous for the houbara bustards. The geographic patterns of the reserve, such as the shallow valleys, dune areas, and steppe desert, are also popular attractions.

Top species of animal to spot: Arabian oryx, ostrich and gazelle

Timings: The natural reserve remains open 24 hours of a day. Peak times are morning and evening hours.

Facts about wildlife In Saudi Arabia

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  • The wildlife in Saudi Arabia, especially the rarest and sought-after ones, can be elusive and tough to spot. One can see Hamadryas baboons only in the Hijaz Mountains
  • Saudi Arabia has 432 bird and 93 mammal species found in Saudi Arabia
  • Sand cat, honey badger, striped hyenas, and sand gazelle are some of the endangered species found in Saudi Arabia
  • Dromedary Camel is the national animal of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia wildlife conservation

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Saudi Arabia has conducted extensive surveys in the area of biological and social studies to create an efficient Protected Area System. The system was updated recently to meet environmental development needs. The plan involves protecting 75 specifically identified areas of the country, including 62 land and 13 coastal/marine areas.

Saudi Arabia has been proactively working towards protecting its precious wildlife and preventing some of the rarest species on Earth native to the country from becoming extinct. In recent years, the government has created many initiatives to fulfill its commitment to wildlife care and protection. Saudi Arabia began identifying and setting aside land to protect animals, flora, and fauna in 1978. At present, the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation & Development (NCWCD) is in charge of a large number of these protected areas.

Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia should ensure to keep the visit to natural reserves and parks in their itinerary. These parks offer an exclusive peek into the wildlife of Saudi Arabia and educate the tourist on their conservation and general animal information.

Wildlife Of Saudi Arabia FAQs

Which are the popular wildlife of Saudi Arabia?

You can find various types of mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects in Saudi Arabia. The largest known mammal is the Dromedary camel. You will find many kinds of smaller animals specifically seen only in this part of the world. These include the sand cat, the striped hyena, and the caracal.

Are there tigers in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, two specimens of tigers are seen in Saudi Arabia, and they are both rare. One might not see them in the open as some of them are being bred in captivity to prevent them from becoming extinct. It is believed that there are around 200 Arabian tigers in Saudi Arabia and surrounding areas.

Which animals live in Empty Quarters?

The Empty Quarter, also known as Rub’ al Khali, is a sandy desert. It extends over a large part of the country and is home to a few types of animals that prefer a dry environment. The most commonly seen animals are rodents and scorpions. The Atlantic Cheetah also lived here some decades ago. It is now regionally extinct.

Which is the best wildlife safari in Saudi Arabia?

There are quite a few popular opinions about Nofa Wildlife Park, situated on the outskirts of Riyadh. You can see, and probably even handle, a range of native and exotic animals.

Which are the endangered species of animals in Saudi Arabia?

Arabian oryx, Arabian leopard, and striped hyenas are some of the endangered species of wild animals in Saudi Arabia.

Pratyush Srivastava

I think, every human is a beautifully concealed epoch in the making with God to unravel it at the perfect time. Hence, synergizing with distinctive individuals in search of an interesting story is my favorite work as a writer and creator.

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