Arabian Leopard (Panthera pardus nimr)
Bedouin name: nimr Status: Critically Endangered
Probably extinct in mainland Egypt for a long time, the subspecies called the Arabian Leopard, may still hang on in Sinai. There are a few in the Negev desert, but they have disappeared from the Hejaz mountains of Saudi Arabia (although they still occur further south). The difficult mountain terrain and their exceptionally secretive and wary nature makes it very difficult to establish the existence of a breeding population. The last positive record in Sinai was in 1996, and the last definite specimen in 1955. However, they live on in Bedouin stories. In the high passes you can still see leopard traps, long tunnels made from stones with a trapdoor triggered by an attachment to a meat bait. It is still possible that one of the St Katherine Protectorate’s camera traps may one day record one of these magnificent creatures.