The Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr), or nimr in Arabic, is the largest surviving cat species in the Arabian Peninsula and once occurred throughout the mountainous regions of Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

In Oman the leopard is classified as Critically Endangered and is protected from hunting and capture. It was once widespread in Musandam, the Hajar mountain range and the mountains of Dhofar. Severely persecuted by man, the leopard disappeared from the Hajar mountains in the 1970s. Multi-disciplined surveys in these regions confirmed that by the early 1980s few animals remained in Musandam and none in the Hajar mountains, but that leopard were still present in Dhofar.

In 1997 the Office of the Adviser for Conservation of the Environment commenced a survey to assess the status of the Arabian leopard in the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve in Dhofar, southern Oman.

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Jabal Samhan Reserve

In the 1980s the continued persecution of the leopard and the need to safeguard the species led to the proposal to establish a captive group at His Majesty's Bait al Barakah Breeding Centre for Omani Mammals just outside Muscat.

Arabian Leopard

Leopards are among the most adaptable animals in the world. As a family, they occur from the jungles of southeast Asia to the high, cold mountains of the Himalayas, and from the deserts of Arabia to the bush of Africa.


In September 1997 a ground survey was conducted to find and document signs of leopard presence. These signs included territorial scrapes, faeces, urination, scent spraying and evidence of kills.


Following the successful use by David Willis of pressure plates to trigger cameras for photographing Arabian leopard a commercially available camera system (Trailmaster Inc. USA) was modified for use in Jabal Samhan.


Leopard 'short tail'

Snow Leopard