King Khaled Wildlife Research Center
The King Khaled Wildlife Research Center is located in al-Thumama area, about 70 Km to the north of the city of Riyadh. It was established in 1987 on late King Khaled's Farm and it is named after him. This farm contained more than 600 heads of different wild animals in enclosures of more than 600 hectares.
Since its establishment the center is working on the management and development of the wildlife groups that used to exist in the farm which represents an important part of the natural heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this group included the Arabian oryx, Reem gazelle, Idmi gazelle, Neumann's gazelle.
Another group of Reem gazelles belonging to the special group of Late Prince Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sudairy Farm were added to the animal herds of the King Khalid Centr, this group was in fact donated by the sons of the late Prince Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sudairy to support the propagation program of the Kingdom.
In 2005, a group of Nubian ibex was brought in, and a base for Nubian ibex propagation was established at the Center. Consequently, the King Khalid Wildlife Research Center in al-Thamama has five programs for breeding and conserving endangered wildlife species, namely:
Reem gazelle propagation program at both the King Khalid Wildlife Research Center in al-Thamama and the Prince Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sudairy Center.
- The Idmi gazelle propagation program at both the King Khalid Center for Wildlife Research in al-Thumama and the Prince Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sudairy Center.
- Neumann's gazelle breeding program.
- Nubian Ibex propagation program.
- Arabian Oryx Propagation Program.
The King Khaled Wildlife Research Center's goals and achievements:
The King Khalid Center is at the forefront of the global centers specialized in research and breeding wild angulates for the purpose of preservation and resettlement in their natural habitats in the protected areas affiliated with the National Center for Wildlife.
The center is a repository of endangered wild angulates and contains a live group that is considered one of the most important groups in the Arabian Peninsula in terms of genetic diversity. Reintroduction to the wild in protected areas and breeding programs both within the Kingdom and in neighboring countries, as well as creating contingency groups for these species in the event of a severe and large-scale decline of their numbers in their natural environment. The center maintains a genealogical record for these species by saving their information in a global database.
The center is considered one of the leading centers specialized in animal health care and related pathology, nutrition and genetics.
The center supports the objectives of the National Center for Wildlife in terms of establishing a global network of protected areas that are managed sustainably at a global level. It also contributes to global efforts to preserve and reintroduce globally rapid-declining endangered vertebrates to their natural environments.
The successful release and reintroduction of angulates in protected areas, including, but not limited to:
- Releasing Reem gazelles, Idmi gazelle and Arabian oryx in the Aruq Bani Maarid Protected Area in the Empty Quarter.
- Reintroduction of Idmi gazelles in the Ibex Reserve.
- Reintroduction of the Reem gazelle and Idmi gazelle in Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area.
- Reintroduction of Reem gazelle in al-Sheba Protected Area of Saudi Aramco in the Empty Quarter. This achievement is considered a global success in wildlife conservation.
- Reintroduction of of the Reem gazelles in al-Khunfa Protected Area.
- Reintroduction of Nubian ibex and the Idmi gazelle in the Sharaan reserve in Al-Ula.
- Reintroduction of Reem gazelle in some natural parks, including Huraimla Park, Al Ghat Park, and Thailan Park.
Executing research related to preserving animals in captivity and in natural reserves to provide a good understanding and better performance of conservation, reintroduction operations, and management of reintroduced herds. In addition, information is provided on the interaction of surrounding local communities and management of protected areas. Environmental field studies on the life and movement of Gazelles and Oryx help to provide information on the best timing and composition of groups planned to be released into each protected area periodically.
Effective contribution to the science of wild angulates, which are based on the understanding of natural history, diseases, genetics, and management of wild angulates in captivity and in their natural habitats.
The center carries out long-term follow-up and monitoring of biological diversity in protected areas, using modern technologies, in cooperation with researchers at the National Center for Wildlife to track down the biological groups and document information related to each protected area separately.
A lot of surveys and monitoring studies have been carried out for wild angulate populations in some protected areas, such as Farasan Islands, Ibex Reserve, Urug Bani Maarid PA, and Al-Tubaig PA.
Surveys of biological diversity in the protected areas were carried out by using camera traps, in particular in the Ibex Reserve, the Aruq Bani Maared PA, Al-Tubayq PA and Al-Khunfah PA, and important information was obtained about the biodiversity in these protected areas.
Since its inception, the center has preserved biological samples obtained from animals, and these samples have been preserved and archived. The center currently maintains more than 75,000 samples collected from many regions around the Kingdom, and these samples are considered a tremendous wealth that can be used by doing a lot of research related to diseases, genetic studies and others.
The center maintains a global database for all the herds at the center since its inception, which helps in preserving the genealogical books of the species.
The center provided training and capacity building for a large number of Saudi key staff, specialists in wildlife conservation, and protected aera managers in many fields related to conservation sciences, research and application. Environmental awareness is also carried out through visits by schools, universities and other bodies.