People, Environment

Persian Leopard Spotted in Hormozgan

Persian Leopard Spotted in HormozganPersian Leopard Spotted in Hormozgan

Camera traps in Minab, Hormozgan Province, have captured images of a rare Persian leopard, only the seventh such sighting in the country in the current year (started March 20, 2016).

The Persian leopard is the only living Pantera subspecies in Iran, making the animal of immense ecological value and historical significance to the country.

"The other six sightings were recorded in Bandar Abbas, Hajiabad and Minab (all in Hormozgan Province)," IRNA quoted Majid Vafadar, the head of the provincial office of the Department of Environment, as saying. 

Studies have shown that some 71% of all Persian leopard fatalities are attributed to illegal hunting or poisoning by shepherds trying to protect their livestock. Reduced prey population and shrinkage of their natural habitat are other factors threatening the graceful, but imperiled, big cats.

In Iran, road accidents pose another main threat to the Persian leopard. According to DOE, 27% of all leopard deaths between 2007 and 2014 were caused by road accidents, about 83% of which happened on the road that passes through the Golestan National Park in Golestan Province.

Ali Teymouri, director of Conservation, Hunting and Fishing Office at DOE, told Mehr News Agency in December that five leopards have died across the country this year, which shows a noticeable decrease compared to 13 deaths during the similar period of last year.

Teymouri attributed the achievement to increasing fines and the launch of a wildlife insurance scheme.

The number of Persian leopard deaths in the year ending Dec. 20 declined by 62% compared with the corresponding period of last year.

Over the past eight years, 166 leopards have died across the country. 

Efforts to protect the Persian leopard will not only help the species, but other wildlife as well, making the leopard a so-called umbrella species. Due to its wide distribution, protecting the endangered species will also help conserve the populations of other animals that share the same habitat. 

Minab mountain range is also home to several other endangered species such as jungle cat, wildcat, wild goat, lesser mouse-tailed bat and owl.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints