Three Persian leopards, one cheetah spotted in Semnan

SEMNAN, May 22 (MNA) – Three Persian leopards and an Asiatic cheetah have been spotted in Khar Turan National Park of Shahroud, Semnan province, a senior official at the Department of Environment (DOE) said.

Amir Abdoos, director of Semnan’s DOE office, said the three mature leopards were spotted by the trap cameras while approaching the protected zones in search of water.

The official noted that park rangers have spotted several Persian leopards in the region during the past couple of months, raising hopes that the number of rare species may be increasing in the region.

One Asiatic cheetah was also observed in the no-hunting mountainous areas of the national reservoir, he added.

Persian leopards and Asiatic cheetahs are among the most endangered species in the world. Big cats have been listed as "endangered" in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Iran is one of their main habitats.

Reduced prey population and shrinkage of their natural habitat are threatening the big cats. Bamou National Park in the southern Fars province is one of the main habitats of the Persian leopard.

Covering an area of 1.4 million hectares, the national park has the largest population of Persian leopards, Cheetahs, Persian onager, goitered and Indian gazelle, wild sheep and goats.

MR/4623310

News Code 145589

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