Persian leopard spotted in western Iran

TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (MNA) – A Persian leopard has been spotted in the mountainous habitats of Khorram Abad, western Lorestan province, chief of the provincial department of environment said.

“We have installed camera traps in protected areas of the province to determine the existence of valuable or endangered species,” Mehrdad Fathi Beiranvand said on Saturday.

Camera traps are remotely activated and equipped with motion sensors or infrared sensors, which capture wild animals on film.

Since last year, the traps succeeded in taking photos of different big cat species especially Persian leopard which demonstrates the region’s proper condition, he added.

The official noted that establishing wildlife monitoring stations, holding training courses and workshops on wildlife protection and increasing the region’s safety are among the measures done by the province’s department of environment.

He further expressed hope that with such efficient measures, the population of precious wildlife species increases in the area.

The Persian leopard is listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List; the population is estimated at fewer than 871–1,290 mature individuals and considered declining.

According to the Department of Environment, 156 leopards have been killed in Iran from 2005 to 2014, nearly 20 leopards a year. Studies indicate that currently there are less than 500 leopards nationwide.

Persian leopards are mainly threatened by poaching, depletion of their prey base due to poaching, human disturbances, habitat loss due to deforestation, fire, agricultural expansion, overgrazing, and infrastructure development.

In Iran, primary threats are habitat disturbances followed by illegal hunting and excess of livestock in the leopard habitats. The leopards’ chances for survival outside protected areas appear very slim.

MNA/TT

News Code 152387

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