With the United Nations declaring February 10 as the first International Day of the Arabian Leopard, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has launched a new campaign to safeguard the critically endangered big cat species from the physical world into the virtual.
According to a press statement by RCU, the campaign has been named ‘Leap of Hope’ after the Arabian Leopard’s athletic prowess and ability to capture its prey in the wild, emphasising the pressing need to increase wild population numbers, a ‘leap’ also being the collective noun for a group of leopards.
The statement adds that as part of RCU’s new ‘Leap of Hope’ campaign, this year’s international edition of the annual call-to-action to conserve Arabian Leopards includes the launch of the ‘Quest for Hope’ gaming experience on the Roblox and Decentral and online platforms.
It says that starting today, the ‘Leap of Hope’ campaign will install billboards in cities including Beijing, London, New York and Paris to showcase its bold ambition as well as to highlight RCU’s goal to comprehensively regenerate AlUla, a vast swathe of northwest Saudi Arabia.
In the digital space, an immersive adventure, ‘Quest for Hope’ engages global gamers to discover the real-world impact of the Arabian Leopard’s ‘Critically Endangered’ status in the wild by joining a virtual conservation mission to search expertly recreated digital landscapes that mirror the Big Cats’ native habitat, including the mountains of AlUla.
The statement adds that the Arabian Leopard Day was first launched by RCU in 2022. In June 2023, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution designating February 10 as the International Day of the Arabian Leopard, in support of RCU and its conservation partners.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ranks the Arabian Leopard as ‘Critically Endangered’, representing a level of risk more severe than Vulnerable or Endangered. If the population continues to decline, the next stages on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are Extinct in the Wild and, lastly, Extinct.
“International Day of the Arabian Leopard Day is an important opportunity to draw the world’s attention to the plight of the Arabian Leopard and RCU’s mission to conserve and safeguard AlUla’s natural environment. While recent successes give us hope, we recognise that the work of conservation must continue to ensure that this species can one day thrive in the wild. We encourage the international community to join us on Arabian Leopard Day by engaging with activities that strengthen our understanding and love for these magnificent Big Cats,” says Stephen Browne, Wildlife and Natural Heritage Vice President at RCU.