Persian leopard appeared on camera trap in northwestern Iran

November 16, 2019 - 16:48

TEHRAN – A photo of a Persian leopard was recorded by a camera trap in the western part of Alamut hunting restricted area, located in northwestern Qazvin province, Mehr news agency reported on Friday.

Following a report on an attack on a cow by a leopard in the Alamut region, a camera trap was installed to determine whether a leopard is inhabiting there, Siavash Rezazadeh, the provincial department of environment deputy chief said. 

The images captured by the camera trap revealed the presence of a young leopard, he stated.

 He went on to say that West Alamut Forbidden Hunting Area is one of two areas managed by the General Directorate of Environmental Protection of the province.

Alamut region, with an area of 76,800 hectares, is one of 7 areas managed by the province's department of environment, which is one of the main habitats of Persian leopard in the province due to the number of leopards spotted in the area so far.

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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