In 1978, Saudi Arabia began setting aside land for protection of
natural habitats, flora, and fauna. Currently,
the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation &
Development (NCWCD) manages 15 protected
So while in Saudi Arabia, if you're looking to do some
eco-traveling or wildlife-watching, you will find many different types of animals:
Gazelles can be found in several protected
areas: the Harrat Al Harrah Reserve, Al Tubayq Reserve,
Farasan Islands Reserve, and 'Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve.
Saudi Arabia is one of the homes of the Arabian
Wolf, which is a small, desert wolf that is
a subspecies of the grey wolf. It can be found in the Harrat
Al Harrah Reserve, Raydah Reserve, Majami'al-Hadb Reserve,
and Jabal Shadah Reserve.
The sand cat is a nocturnal, sandy-colored cat with a
broad head. It can be found in the Harrat Al Harrah Reserve
and Ibex Reserve.
The caracal is sometimes called the caracal lynx,
Persian lynx, Egyptian lynx, or African lynx. But, strictly
speaking, it isn't a lynx; it is believed to be more closely
related to wild cats of Africa, such as the serval. The name
"caracal" comes from the Turkish for "black ear." Caracals
can be found in the Raydah Reserve, Majami'al-Hadb Reserve,
and Jabal Shadah Reserve.
The rock hyrax looks
somewhat like an oversized guinea pig, with a short, coarse,
dark brown coat and lighter, cream-colored belly. Rock hyraxes can be found in the Ibex Reserve,
Raydah Reserve, and Majami'al-Hadb Reserve.
The mongoose is perhaps best known because some of its
species attack snakes, such as cobras. The Indian Gray Mongoose can be
found in Saudi Arabia in the Ibex Reserve, Raydah Reserve,
and Majami'al-Hadb Reserve.
Saudi Arabia is home to two hare species, the Rub' al-Khali
hare and the Arabian Hare. Hares can be
found in the Al Tubayq Reserve and Majami'al-Hadb Reserve.
This small fox is sandy-colored and much smaller than the familiar red fox
These foxes can be found in the Al Tubayq Reserve and Majami'al-Hadb
Ibexes are a type of mountain goat. The Nubian
Ibex is a relatively small ibex, with a sandy brown
body, white underbelly, and legs with black-and-white
markings. The animal can be found in the
Ibex Reserve, as well as in the Al Tubayq Reserve and Raydah
The Arabian leopard is
the smallest subspecies of leopard, and is highly
endangered. It can be found in the mountains along the west
coast, and has been seen in the Jabal Shadah Reserve.
This white-coated endangered species is
also known as the white oryx. The
Arabian oryx ceased to exist in the wild in the 1970s, but
captive-bred Arabian oryxes were reintroduced to the Mahazat
as-Sayd Reserve approximately 20 years ago.
or honey badger looks somewhat more
like a shabby-coated skunk than a badger. Ratels can be found in the Majami'al-Hadb Reserve.
Land, Air, and Sea
Saudi Arabia is also home to 60 lizard species, 34 snake
species, nine turtle species, and seven amphibian species. The Brahminy blind snake, elegant racer, small- scaled burrowing asp, and desert cobra are rare or endangered snakes.
Bird watchers will be happy as Saudi Arabia is on important north-south and east-west
migratory pathways, so during migrations, the Kingdom can be
home to millions of birds. Approximately 180 species of bird
are known to breed in the Kingdom, of which 11 are endemic
species. The Houbara
bustards, golden eagles, osprey, sooty falcons, and flamingoes are non-native birds found in the Kingdom.
Those who enjoy scuba diving can see abundant marine life in
the Red Sea. The Arabian Gulf is home to one marine reserve,
the Jubail Reserve.
Species are also being reintroduced to protected areas, and
among these species are the endangered Arabian oryx,
onagers, and ostriches (the indigenous ostrich species
became extinct in the mid-20th century).
And as for the hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas), in
addition to their roost along the cliffs outside Taif, you
can find them in the Raydah Reserve.