News article

Extreme E joins rewilding efforts in NEOM

March 16 2023

Ahead of the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia last weekend, the Extreme E electric off-road racing series launched its latest legacy programme, focusing on rewilding and regreening efforts in northwest Saudi Arabia.

Extreme E joins rewilding efforts in NEOM

This year, drivers and staff travelled to NEOM’s Nature Reserve to assist in the release of Arabian oryx, Red Necked Ostriches and Arabian Sand gazelles – species that have not roamed freely for over a century in this region. 

The help to resettle these native species is part of the smart city’s wider nature restoration efforts, which started last year with the release of lizards into the landscape. The goal is to protect and enhance biodiversity, rejuvenate natural habitats, reintroduce native species and re-green the environment. Some 95% of NEOM’s land will be reserved for nature conservation.

"The scale of what is happening here in NEOM, having seen it a year ago, the work and development and passion that is going into these regreening and rewilding projects is amazing.” Emma Gilmour, NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team.

Paul Marshall, Head of NEOM Nature Reserve, said: “Through a combination of active and passive regreening, we will add 100 million native trees, shrubs and grasses to NEOM by 2030 as part of the overall Saudi Greening Initiative (SGI).

“The use of recycled black and grey water will also ensure that we don’t deplete the local water resources. While we are irrigating in the beginning, we are using methods that will increase the likelihood of long-term sustainability and a healthy self-sustaining native vegetation ecosystem in this landscape.

“We are not wanting to create something that never existed, but instead mitigate against previous damage to this landscape, and rejuvenate the native desert and its flora and fauna to a time before external factors degraded it.”

Emma Gilmour, NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team, added: “We were here last year releasing lizards into the wild, and to think that there are now a thousand of them out there in their natural habitat is really special.

“Then this year, we released gazelles and ostriches which was an amazing sight to see. The scale of what is happening here in NEOM, having seen it a year ago, the work and development and passion that is going into these regreening and rewilding projects is amazing.”

Image: Extreme E/Charly Lopez

Read more

    GSS Weekly Newsletter Registration

    Register your interest in receiving our free weekly sport and sustainability newsletter and get it delivered to your inbox every Thursday

    GSS Weekly Newsletter Benefits:

    • Free access to all the latest sustainability news and features

    • Free weekly newsletter featuring all the latest developments in sport and sustainability

    First name

    Last name

    Company

    Title

    Email

    Nation