Empowering Conservationists for the Future

By Panthera and the Royal Commission for AlUla


Celebrating World Ranger Day, Panthera proudly highlights its support for the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in Saudi Arabia to train a dedicated team of rangers to safeguard protected areas. Join us in recognizing these unsung heroes of wildlife conservation and learn more about our efforts to protect endangered species. 

The Arabian leopard, categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, faces imminent extinction, with a population of fewer than 200 individuals in the wild and their survival relies on our immediate support. Thankfully, a group of passionate individuals is joining an existing ranger force to protect wildlife in the region, emerging as essential allies in the fight to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystems in Saudi Arabia, including the Arabian oryx and the Nubian ibex. These aspiring wildlife rangers, joined by others from around the globe, are true heroes in the field of conservation. Their commitment lies in protecting and preserving natural habitats and fostering peaceful coexistence with animals. They play an essential role in our shared mission to safeguard and sustain our precious wildlife. 

In Saudi Arabia, Panthera supports the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) to bring Arabian leopards back from the brink of extinction. Through extensive camera trap surveys, we have gathered crucial information about the landscapes and ecosystems where these charismatic carnivores once thrived, which has allowed us to develop a comprehensive plan for their eventual reintroduction into the wild. To expand our commitment to conserve all of the region’s wildlife, Panthera recently began supporting the RCU’s ranger training program. This initiative aims to create a skilled team capable of effectively carrying out patrols and collecting data, tasks that will safeguard this habitat.

A Ranger Team for a Prosperous Future 

RCU’s vision for wildlife begins with six areas set aside as essential havens for conservation that stretch over an astounding 13,000 km2. To protect these lands of picturesque valleys, desert oases and galloping gazelles, RCU intends to develop a capable, highly professionalized ranger force of more than 150. To expand our commitment to conserve all of the region’s wildlife, Panthera recently began supporting the RCU’s ranger training program. In conjunction with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted last year by the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which calls for 30 percent of the Earth’s surface to be protected by 2030, we came to a crucial conclusion: we need to train, equip and support more rangers.  

Adhering to the International Ranger Federation’s (IRF) strict Global Core Ranger Competencies guidelines, Panthera and RCU developed our Ranger Training Development Programme (RTDP) to address this challenge. These regulations reinforce essential skills rangers worldwide must know to do their jobs effectively. Our three-phased training course provides the over 150 rangers with an unparalleled learning experience. Phase one was an intensive crash course — covering ranger rules, regulations and the Global Ranger Code of Conduct. 

“Congratulations on the successful completion of the first cycle. The fact that 150 rangers have completed this training phase is a testament to the dedication and commitment of everyone involved.”

Khaldoun Alomari
Nature Reserves Manager, RCUOur Next Steps H3 

RCU Rangers 2
©RCU and Panthera

Our Next Steps

Phase two, which is currently underway, focuses on practical applications, such as patrolling techniques, equipment handling and patrol planning. Through real-world scenarios, participants gain invaluable experience that solidifies their newfound skills that all rangers are trained to know. 

As we eagerly approach the third and final phase — focusing on emergency evacuation training — Panthera and RCU are confident that our efforts will create a resolute and highly capable ranger force. With these passionate conservationists on their side, Saudi Arabia’s wildlife will have the dedicated protection they deserve.

👉 Show your support on social media by sharing this post with your friends and learning more about RCU and Panthera ranger initiatives across the globe. Additionally, you can visit the websites of the IRF (International Ranger Federation) and our partner URSA (United Ranger Support Alliance), two organizations dedicated to honoring these conservation heroes. Together, let us celebrate the RCU Rangers in Saudi Arabia — both veterans and newly certified — as they join the ranks of ranger champions.