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King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority to protect griffon vultures

RIYADH: The King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority is working to protect endangered griffon vultures at its sites in the Kingdom.

Covering an area of ​​130,700 km2, the Royal Reserve of King Salman bin Abdulaziz is the largest nature reserve in the Middle East and also includes three other main reserves in the north and northwest of the Kingdom: Al-Tubaiq Reserve, Al-Khanfa Reserve and Hurra Al-Hurra Reserve.

The site hosts a variety of archaeological monuments, land, natural resources and habitats.

Several months ago, the reserve monitored a large number of griffon vulture nesting sites. Griffon Vulture numbers are reported to be declining throughout the Arabian Peninsula. However, the griffon vulture is not globally endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List ranking.

The griffon vulture, which usually weighs between six and 11 kilograms with a wingspan of 2.2 to 2.55 meters and a length of between 90 and 150 centimeters, inhabits the central and southern regions of the Kingdom.

The species lives in cliffs, rock crevices and caves and builds nests from dead wood.

Afnan Al-Anazi, a media officer with the reserve’s development authority, told Arab News that officials are creating permanent protection programs by creating an environment “to house, monitor and assess them (griffon vultures ) using satellites, which would help track their behavior.” , population and feeding areas, in addition to protecting them from hunting, collisions and electrocution.

Al-Anazi added that the reserve has started a field survey project for birds to estimate the number of populations and classify the groups into resident, migratory or visiting species. The survey will also help researchers understand migration routes and engage in ongoing monitoring and follow-up programs.

The reserve also plans to develop tourist birdwatching programs. “There is a special initiative to raise awareness in the local community about the importance of birds in general…and the importance of eagles and their role in providing very important ecosystem services,” said Al- Anazi.

The griffon vulture plays a major role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem by feeding on the carcasses of dead animals such as camels, sheep, goats, ibexes and deer, which it spots when it hovers at high altitude.

Al-Anazi said the process of feeding on carcasses prevents the spread of disease and infection, “preventing and protecting us from many diseases caused by these carcasses.”

The efforts of the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Reserve, Al-Anazi said, aim to help the birds reproduce by “achieving a sustainable ecological balance by protecting biodiversity, especially endangered species”.

The female griffon vulture usually lays one egg per year. He takes care of the chick for an incubation period of 48 to 54 days.

The National Center for Wildlife Development and the King Salman bin Abdulaziz Royal Reserve Development Authority previously signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in wildlife development, biodiversity and sustainability.

The agreement also aims to work on the relocation of endangered local animals to the reserve through the centre’s breeding facilities, and to conduct monitoring and joint environmental studies to exchange information, knowledge and experiences. .


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