Environment, insurance bodies join hands to save Persian leopard

April 24, 2016

TEHRAN — The Department of Environment, the National Environment Fund, and the Ma Insurance Company signed a memorandum of understanding here on Saturday, aiming to coordinate measures to save the endangered Persian leopard.

By Maryam Qarehgozlou

TEHRAN — The Department of Environment, the National Environment Fund, and the Ma Insurance Company signed a memorandum of understanding here on Saturday, aiming to coordinate measures to save the endangered Persian leopard.

The Persian leopard, also called the Caucasian leopard or Central Asian leopard, is listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

“Being an umbrella species, Persian leopards are very important to the environment and the lives of other species,” the Department of Environment official Ali Teymouri said on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

Umbrella species are species selected for making conservation-related decisions, typically because protecting these species indirectly protects the many other species that make up the ecological community of its habitat.     

The insurance aims at compensating for the losses inflicted upon human beings, livestock such as lambs, horses, donkeys, cows, and camels, and the leopards themselves, Teymouri explained.

Wildfire, human activities, poaching leopards’ prey species, road accidents, and getting killed or injured by the shepherds while attacking the livestock are of the reasons that endanger these species, Teymouri said, lamenting, about 150 leopards got killed or died from 2008 to 2016.

47 organizations ranging from health, oil, and interior ministries to NGOs and Majlis are committed to participate in this plan, he added.

“We have had talks with Management and Planning Organization in order to add a clause to the sixth five-year development plan for the protection of Persian leopards,” he highlighted.

“Additionally we are trying to expand international ties to introduce Persian leopard to its former habitat in Russia,” he noted.

Majid Safdari, the director general of Ma Insurance Company, also pledged to compensate for the death of a leopard recently killed in Yasuj, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, which happened to be pregnant with quadruplets and promised to make a public announcement when they make the first payment.

Masoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of Environment, for her part, noted that such agreements can encourage the world to protect the environment and make them more attentive to it.

“This can also help to reduce the conflicts between locals and leopards,” she said.

******* Three losers turned into three winners

Achim Steiner, the UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, who attended the ceremony, declared the agreement as an innovative plan which turns three losers into three winners.

The leopards which attack the livestock and get hurt killed as a result, the shepherds who bear losses as a result of such attacks and the Department of Environment that is in charge of wildlife protection are the three winners, Steiner said.

He expressed hope that in other countries the economic sector would enter environmental matters as well.

MQ/MG

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