Saudi wildlife center records first rare shrew sighting 

The Dhofar shrew feeds on invertebrates and seeds, relying on its strong sense of smell, and consumes food throughout the day due to its high metabolic rates. (SPA)
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Updated 19 December 2023
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Saudi wildlife center records first rare shrew sighting 

  • Dhofar Zababah species, scientifically known as Crocidura dhofarensis, is native to the Dhofar region and the eastern part of Yemen, adjacent to Oman
  • Dhofar Zababah thrives in dense, moist plant environments, such as agricultural areas, where it digs and burrows around water channels and damp soil

JEDDAH: The Saudi National Center for Wildlife has recorded the first sighting of a rare species of shrew in the Kingdom’s southwest.

The Dhofar Zababah species, scientifically known as Crocidura dhofarensis, is native to the Dhofar region and the eastern part of Yemen, adjacent to Oman.

National Center for Wildlife CEO Mohammed Ali Qurban said that the documentation is an extension of the center’s efforts to protect ecosystems and preserve biodiversity — one of its key strategic goals.

Qurban highlighted the center’s commitment to fostering a vibrant and sustainable ecological system by maximizing research activities.

He said that the latest sighting, along with other discoveries like extinct hunting cheetah skeletons found in the north of the Kingdom last year, reflects the center’s progress in protecting natural habitats and enriching ecosystems.

The Dhofar Zababah thrives in dense, moist plant environments, such as agricultural areas, where it digs and burrows around water channels and damp soil.

It has one of the fastest heart rates among wild mammals, reaching up to 450 beats per minute. The white-toothed shrew feeds on invertebrates and seeds, relying on its strong sense of smell, and consumes food throughout the day due to its high metabolic rates.

The shrew is characterized by its small size, measuring no more than 12 centimeters in length and weighing about 10 grams.

It features a long, pointed snout with long straight hair, a short tail with a broad base that narrows towards the back, small eyes and short ears, and soft light brown fur.

The documentation of the species is a significant scientific and environmental development for the Kingdom, reflecting the center’s efforts to protect and sustain ecosystems, and preserve biodiversity.


Muharram moon visible in daylight hours today

Updated 24 sec ago
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Muharram moon visible in daylight hours today

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Astronomy Society has announced that the moon, in its first-quarter phase for the month of Muharram, will be visible in the sky over the Arab world during daylight hours on Saturday July 13, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The moon will rise at noon local time from the eastern horizon and reach its highest point in the sky at sunset, giving astronomy enthusiasts an excellent opportunity to study its surface. After nightfall, Spica, one of the 20 brightest stars in the night sky, will be visible near the moon.

Majid Abu Zahra, the head of the Jeddah Astronomy Society, explained that Spica actually consists of two stars orbiting each other, but due to their vast distance from Earth, it appears as a single object.

He noted that, during its first-quarter phase, half of the moon is illuminated. This is the ideal time, he said, to observe the moon’s surface with binoculars or a small telescope, as the mountains, craters, and other features are particularly clear, especially along the terminator line, which separates the day side from the night side. “The interplay of light and shadows along this line provides a stunning three-dimensional view,” Abu Zahra explained.

He added that the moon will remain visible until midnight local time, reaching its first quarter phase at 1:48 a.m. Makkah. At this point, it will have completed a quarter of its orbit around the Earth for this month.


Saudi FM hosts French presidential advisor for Middle East, North Africa

Updated 13 July 2024
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Saudi FM hosts French presidential advisor for Middle East, North Africa

RIYAD: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan hosted Anne-Claire Legendre, the advisor to the French president for the Middle East and North Africa, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

During the meeting at the ministry on Friday, the two sides reviewed Saudi-French relations, ways to strengthen ties in various fields and the latest regional developments, particularly concerning the Gaza Strip.

The meeting was attended by Prince Saad bin Mansour Al-Saud, director general of the General Department for European Affairs at the Foreign Ministry.


Saudi hospital performs 3 successful heart transplants in less than 24 hours

Updated 13 July 2024
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Saudi hospital performs 3 successful heart transplants in less than 24 hours

RIYADH: King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center performed three successful heart transplants in Riyadh on Thursday, state news agency SPA reported.

A nine-year-old girl was among the patients who received a successful transplant.

She was suffering from heart muscle weakness and needed a donation urgently.

A suitable donor was found for her in coordination with the UAE’s Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation and the National Program for Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue.

The heart was transported from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh by a private aircraft that kept the organ in a stable condition and ensured it arrived safely to the patient.

A second team of medical professionals flew to Jeddah to obtain a donation for a 40-year-old man suffering from heart disease.

The final patient received his donation from Riyadh. The 41-year-old man was suffering from heart failure and was successfully operated on. 

KFSHRC affirmed its dedication to saving lives, overcoming challenges and bringing hope to patients and their families.


KSrelief distributes 1,200 food baskets in Chad

Updated 13 July 2024
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KSrelief distributes 1,200 food baskets in Chad

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief has distributed 1,200 food parcels in the Beheira region of Chad, benefiting 7,200 people most in need, as part of a project to support food security in Chad in 2024, the state news agency SPA reported late on Friday.

The assistance is part of a series of humanitarian projects Saudi Arabia implements through KSrelief to help countries and people worldwide.


KSrelief signs agreement to support Yemen humanitarian fund

Updated 13 July 2024
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KSrelief signs agreement to support Yemen humanitarian fund

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief signed an agreement with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Thursday to support the Yemen Humanitarian Fund, state news agency SPA reported.

The aid agency committed $9 million to the cause, and the initiative is part of KSrelief’s humanitarian aid program in Yemen.

The agreement was signed via video conference by KSrelief Assistant Supervisor General of Operations and Programs Ahmed Al-Baiz and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Joyce Msuya.