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Department of Environment: Iran Failed to Revive Persian Leopard

Persian Leopard Panthera Pardus Saxicolor

The Iranian Department of Environment announced on Monday that reintroduction projects of rare Persian leopard have failed in Iran. In 2009, Iran and Russian agreed to revive the population of the big cat in the Caucasus region by taking certain measures and exchanging a number of leopards.

At least three Persian leopards lost their lives in protected areas of Iran over the past three years. The Department of Environment has been heavily criticized over the living conditions of the endangered species in those areas.

Ali Mohammadi, the Deputy Head of Iran’s Department of Environment, says Iran has invested a large amount of money on this project. “In order to make better habitats for Persian leopards, the Iranian government spent some $175,000 to build and also improve certain sites for this rare species.”

“Iran and Russia have stopped exchanging Persian leopards due to the failure of reintroduction projects of Persian leopard. Males and females associate briefly and just after the short mating period, they separate. But this process didn’t happen in this project. Researchers are still pursuing the same project in Sochi National Park of Russia.” Mohammadi told local media on Monday.

It is worth mentioning that Persian Leopard is one of the least studied subspecies of the Leopard. It was once abundant across most mountainous and forest habitats of Iran.

“Although we failed to advance this project successfully, the Iranian Department of Environment will continue researching about the different methods of Persian leopard’s reproduction. Based on the recent agreements, the similar projects in this regard will get supported by the Iranian government in future.” Ali Mohammadi concluded.

The Persian leopard is listed as ‘protected species’ in Iranian wildlife conservation law. It is endangered throughout its range with fewer than 871–1,290 mature individuals and a declining population trend. Leopards are widely distributed in Iran.

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