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24 April 2024

Wild love story has soulmates purring

By Staff

Al Ain Zoo has introduced Qais, a critically endangered Arabian leopard adopted in September 2008, to Lubna, a female Arabian leopard living in Al Bustan Zoological Centre in Sharjah.

As part of its commitment to conserve arid land species and provide them with an environment similar to that of the their natural habitat, Al Ain Zoo adopted Qais from the Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife in Sharjah at the age of four.

Over the years, Al Ain Zoo dedicatedly raised Qais to become a healthy, nine year-old leopard; however, he was still missing much-needed companionship.

After years of intense research and as a result of the first Arabian Zoo and Aquarium Association conference organised by Al Ain Zoo in 2013, Qais was introduced to Lubna, a 10 year-old Arabian leopard living in Al Bustan Zoological Centre in Sharjah.

Following several tests to ensure her compatibility, Lubna finally travelled to Al Ain Zoo to meet Qais. The two leopards now live together and are carefully looked after by the Conservation Department of Endangered Species at Al Ain Zoo.

Arabian leopards are categorised as critically endangered with less than 200 individuals remaining in the mountains of Yemen and Oman.

The species’ dwindling population is a result of factors including habitat deterioration, urban expansion, hunting and a lack of prey.

Al Ain Zoo is home to an internationally important conservation programme focusing on the wildlife of the world’s arid regions, and is involved in conservation research, captive breeding and propagation.

The zoo offers visitors a combination of educational programmes and exciting animal experiences, providing a fun environment for the public to learn about endangered species.

Al Ain Zoo has set-up strategic partnerships with leading zoos, conservation agencies and associations from across the world, including the World Conservation Union and Species Survival Commission, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, San Diego Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo, the Northern Rangelands Trust of Kenya and the Sahara Conservation Fund.