Saudi Aramco helps save endangered animals, protect wildlife in the desert
Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Aramco is helping save endangered animals and protect the Kingdom’s diverse wildlife as part of its ongoing commitment to safeguard the environment wherever it operates.
Across the Kingdom, Saudi Aramco is working to protect dozens of native plant and animal species across 10 vast sites, helping protect more than 500 species of flora and fauna, including at least 50 species or subspecies unique to the country.
Each site contains critical biodiversity, either regionally or internationally, because of its threatened, migratory or endemic species.
Vast protected reserves stretch from Shaybah in the south to Ras Tanaqib in the north, and from Abu Ali in the east to Abha in the west.
The protected zones cover a vast array of ecosystems unique to the Kingdom.
As part of its conservation work, Saudi Aramco has reinstated locally extinct species to the Shaybah Wildlife Reserve, which opened in 2016, and has now seen the reintroduction of large numbers of the Arabian oryx and Arabian sand deer.
It lies in the remote Rub’ Al-Khali or Empty Quarter. Encompassing 650,000 square kilometers and comprising the Earth’s largest continuous sand desert, the Rub’ Al-Khali covers about a third of the Arabian Peninsula.
Located adjacent to Saudi Aramco’s mega-facilities in the area, the fenced sanctuary protects dozens of native plant and animal species.
The reserve – vast stretch of fenced land near the Empty Quarter – supports wildlife of global importance and protects fauna from threats of vehicles, grazing, and hunting.
Aramco’s investments have resulted in the reintroduction of three species native to the Arabian Peninsula; the Arabian oryx, sand deer and ostriches – helping restore dwindling numbers of the fauna.
By 1972, only four Arabian oryx remained alive in the wild, and sand deer faced the same fate.
Ostriches had disappeared from the Empty Quarter more than 120 years ago after large-scale poaching, with the last-known sighting being in 1939.
After Aramco’s intervention, the reserves are helping restore biodiversity in the area, with more than 130 Arabian oryx in the reserve alone.
The Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary is now home to 10 endemic Arab species, 39 species on a national list of 50 high-priority conservation species and 13 regionally engendered species.
There are also 11 species of native plants, 18 species of mammals and 176 species of birds.