People, Environment

Center for Protection of Persian Leopard Opens

Center for Protection of Persian Leopard OpensCenter for Protection of Persian Leopard Opens

The first center aimed at bringing together officials and NGOs to protect the endangered Persian leopard was inaugurated in Eram, Bushehr Province, on Tuesday.

Eram Governor Masoud Sayyadi, head of the Department of Environment’s office in Dashtestan County, Sadeq Poursalem and director of Asian Leopard Specialists, Arezou Sanei, attended the center’s opening ceremony, IRNA reported.

“The program will help protect the environment and the Persian leopard,” said Sayyadi, adding that it takes a major group effort involving conservationists, NGOs and officials to prevent the loss of ecosystems.

“We are sworn to protect the environment for future generations,” he said.

The rising death toll of the Persian leopard during the past six months has raised questions about the level of protection this species is receiving.

Primary threats to the Persian leopard are habitat disturbances, followed by illegal hunting and excessive livestock grazing in the leopard’s habitats.

The leopard’s chances of survival outside protected areas appear very slim. Road accidents also impact their numbers.

In August, DOE announced plans to insure Persian leopards to deter shepherds from killing the animal to protect their livestock.

A study spanning four years found that 71% of all Persian leopard fatalities in Iran were attributed to illegal hunting or poisoning.