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Persian leopards in Iran

After disappearance of Asiatic lion and Caspian tiger, the Persian leopard is the largest cat in western Asia, however it faces a high threat of extinction itself.

The problem

The Persian leopard is faced with a variety of dangers, even inside reserves, which threaten its very existence. Its wide range across multiple reserves, often crossing international borders, can also hinder conservation efforts.

Housing developments and livestock farming all negatively impact these big cats as well as ongoing hunting and trapping.

The solution

Iran is the leopard stronghold in the Middle East although densities here are very low

Our work here with Oxford University’s WildCRU will establish a comprehensive effort to conserve the endangered Persian leopard within multiple reserves in northeastern Iran.

We plan to explore some unknown aspects of leopard ecology such as ranging behavior and to understand efficiency of the park boundaries to save the populations. This will be done by fitting up to five leopards with special GPS collars. We will also assess local people’s interaction with reserves and educate them further about the big cats they live with. We will also be sharing techniques and findings with other conservation experts.

All these different components are aimed at reducing dangers and ensuring the long-term survival of the stunning Persian leopard.

Project leader Mohammad Farhadinia is one of our special Conservation Partners. We are providing him with the support to he needs to help this enigmatic large cat face a safer future in the wild mountains and foothills of west Asia.

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