We may not know it but the Middle East is home to some amazing animals. Unfortunately a lot of them are on the brink of extinction, or at the very least classified as critically endangered. 

Perhaps, the first step to conservation is awareness. This is why we compiled a list of some of the incredible animals that we didn't know existed, and which may disappear if we fail to protect them.  

1. The Arabian Tahr

Source: TDIC

Similar to other mountain goats, Arabian Tahrs prefer mountainous slopes. They are native to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, but are unfortunately declining in number due to the scarcity of food and water.

2. The Egyptian Vulture

Source: Wikimedia

The Egyptian vulture, also known as the white scavenger or pharaoh’s chicken, is a small Old World vulture and the only member of the genus Neophron. 

It is found in southwestern Europe, North Africa and India. 

According to the IUCN, it is currently endangered; between 10,000 and 100,000 of these birds survive worldwide. 

Causes of species decline include disease, pollution, and electrocution from power lines.

3. The Arabian Leopard

Source: Damien Egan

Classified as critically endangered by the IUCN since 1996, the Arabian Leopard’s population is estimated at 200 leopards. 

It once roamed the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but unfortunately can now only be found in one location in Yemen and Oman.

Causes of population decline include habitat loss, and prey depletion instigated by unregulated hunting.

4. The Arabian Oryx

The Arabian Oryx has long straight horns, with some believing that it was the model for the legendary Unicorn. 

Its horns are considered a precious commodity, leading to over-hunting. 

Because of that they are now in danger of extinction.

5. The Syrian Brown Bear

The Syrian bear is native to the Middle East and the Caucasus regions. It is the smaller subspecies of the brown bear. 

The Syrian bear has made shy appearances in the past across Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, and is currently flagged red on the endangered animals list with the possibility of going extinct.