Persian leopards’ natural reproduction turned unsuccessful

July 21, 2019 - 21:6

TEHRAN – A Persian leopard couple’s hormonal interventions to mate naturally at Tehran Zoological Garden for conservation purposes has turned out to be unsuccessful, YJC reported on Saturday.

Kija, the female leopard, and Gaspar, the male one, are both healthy kept in captivity for natural reproduction.

In late February, after diagnosing the female leopard and checking the male leopard sperm, their reproductive health has been ensured, so they undergone hormonal interventions in order to increase the probability of estrous detection and insemination.

“But after 100 days, diagnosis conducted on the female leopard, and we found out that it is not pregnant, unfortunately,” Iman Memarian, Tehran Zoological Garden veterinarian said.

“We will not give up and try again to finally achieve success in captive breeding or artificial insemination of Persian leopards,” he added.

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.

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