A 2006 Arabian Fauna Conservation Workshop estimated there were fewer than 200 leopards remaining on the Arabian peninsula, in three confirmed separate subpopulations (Breitenmoser 2006, Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006). There is a very small population in Israel's Negev desert, estimated at 20 in the late 1970s: Nowell and Jackson 1996). In Yemen, there is a confirmed subpopulation in the Wada'a mountains 120 km north of the capital Sana'a; leopards potentially occur in four other mountainous areas of the country but this is unconfirmed (Al Jumaily et al. 2006). The largest confirmed subpopulation is in the Dhofar mountains of southern Oman. The 4,500 km² Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve was established there in 1997 after camera trap records of leopards were obtained; camera trapping since then has identified 17 individual adult leopards, including one cub (Spalton et al. 2006). Camera trapping has also confirmed the presence of 9-11 leopards in the mountains that run west of the reserve to the Yemen border (Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006). In Saudi Arabia, the potential population size was estimated at 60-425, with a potential range of 4,000-19,635 km² in the western Sarawat and Hijaz mountains (Judas et al. 2006). This represents only about 10% of the leopard's historic range in that country. However, although Al-Johany (2007) collected numerous records (over 65) from informants during 1998-2003, and Judas et al. (2006) also obtained a number of informant records, subsequent camera trapping failed to confirm leopard presence (Judas et al. 2006). Leopard presence in Saudi Arabia is still considered uncertain (Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006). Leopards are probably extinct in Jordan (Qarqaz and Abu Baker 2006), Egypt's Sinai peninsula (Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006), with the possibility of a rare vagrant from the Negev (T. Wacher pers. comm. 2008), and the United Arab Emirates (Edmonds et al. 2006a, Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006).
The Arabian leopard is threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation; hunting of its wild prey, and retaliatory killing in defense of livestock (Al Jumaily et al. 2006, Breitenmoser 2006, Edmonds et al. 2006a, Judas et al. 2006, Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006, Al-Johany 2007). At least ten wild leopards were live-captured in Yemen since the early 1990s and sold to zoos; some have been placed in conservation breeding centers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia (Al Jumaily et al. 2006, Edmonds et al. 2006b, Spalton and Al Hikmani 2006).
Listed as Critically Endangered, as the effective population size is clearly below 250 mature individuals, with a continuing decline, and severely fragmented distribution with isolated subpopulations not larger than 50 mature individuals (Breitenmoser et al. 2006).