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Riyadh skyline, Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has said that a deadline of more than six months, given to foreign owners of cattle to take them out in an effort to protect the kingdom’s environment, is set to end Thursday (today).

With the expiry of the deadline, the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said it would start enforcing measures against non-compliant owners and shepherds.

They include revocation of all entry permits and implementation of an export mechanism to the grazing cattle.

These measures are part of efforts to preserve the vegetation cover to stem overgrazing and natural pasture degradation with a view to fulfilling objectives of the Saudi Green Initiative to protect the environment and boost optimal use of vital resources in the kingdom, the ministry added.

The grace period started on February 18 and Saudi authorities have repeatedly urged foreign owners of cattle to take them out of the country, or face penalties.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has unveiled a series of pro-environment measures also aimed to address climate change.

The ministry has set up several environment centres to protect vegetation and bio-diversity in the kingdom, which has also enacted laws to protect the environment from overgrazing and illegal logging.

In 2021, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Saudi Green Initiative, a plan aimed at planting 10 million trees across the kingdom, increasing the protected zones to 30 per cent of the country’s overall area and reducing carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by the year 2030.