Three Persian leopards, one Pallas cat spotted near Tehran

FIROUZKUH, Apr. 06 (MNA) – Three Persian leopards and a Pallas cat have been spotted in the mountainous habitats of Firouzkuh county, the northeastern part of the capital Tehran.

Head of Firouzkuh environmental protection office, Farshad Firouznia, said the cats were captured by the camera traps in Tangeh Vashi, a mountain pass in Alborz Mountain range.

Noting that both Persian leopard and Pallas cat are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, Firouznia said the camera footages raise hopes for the survival of the species in this habitat.

Persian leopard’s population is estimated at fewer than 871–1,290 mature individuals and is 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/4893453

News Code 157293

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