Persian Leopard

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Persian Leopard

PersianLeopardNewsletter No.6 May 2011Kaveh Farzaneh. A Year after Year of Leopard. Caucasian LeopardConservation Workshop inTurkey. Training for Conserving theLeopards. More Advances in LeopardMovie. Leopard Loss CounterThrough the Year of Leopard. Thanks to All the PersianLeopard Supporters!www.wildlife.ir


PersianLeopard2A Year after ‘Year of Leopard’As an endangered subspecies, thePersian leopard was once abundantacross most mountainous and foresthabitats of Iran, but it is now one of therarest species of carnivores in the country.Recent surveys have revealed that around65% of the wild population of the Persianleopard exists in Iran. Moreover, despite ofpoaching and habitat loss, the range of theleopard is still known to include large areasof Iran. Annually, a minimum of 30 to 50leopards are confirmed to be poached inIran which conflict with local people andunawareness are the main reasons.2010 was the “Year of Leopard” in Iranwhich was a great opportunity to utilizethis social event for the beneficiary ofleopard conservation in Iran. Accordingly,the present project was designated in late2009 and was implemented until March2011 in Iran with an aim to spread leopardknowledge at various levels of the Iranianas well as international community.Therefore, specific activities were plannedfor various target groups.We mainly focused on capacity buildingand training of local experts and gamewardens, because they are mainly incharge of conservation of the species whousually suffer from lack of appropriateknowledge and training. Accordingly,more than 20 training workshops wereorganized in different cities across thecountry for experts, game wardens anduniversity students. On the other hand, anOnline Center was established composingof Persian leopard literature to provideinterested people easy opportunityto learn the latest findings about theNewsletter No.6May 2011Persian leopard and scientific seminarswere organized for university studentsacross the country. Mass media were fedwith leopard facts to cover the Iraniancommunity broadly. On the other hand,a dynamic database was prepared andupdated regularly based on humancausedmortalities of leopards during thepast decade in Iran.After evaluating the project’s outcomeswithin each hotspot together withavailable sources of local human power(preferably in form of local NGO/CBO),political support from local stakeholders,and frequency of leopard mortalities,and achievable goals, pilot conservationeducation projects were planned.Additional funds were raised to launchtwo such projects in Lorestan (westernIran) and Kalmand (central Iran) and moreareas will be covered in following years.With respect to critical position of Iranfor survival of the Persian leopard, it isessential to share the knowledge with othercountries to enhance leopard conservationefforts as well as building trans-boundaryjoint initiatives. In order to highlight thePersian leopard at international level,Persian Leopard Newsletter was born on bimonthlybasis and sent to a huge databaseof international wildlife conservationists.Also, a number of reports were publishedin international magazines and journals.The “Year of Leopard” was a milestone forleopard conservation in Iran with a varietyof effective and conservation-basedachievements for sake of this vanishing cat.The Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) invitesother national/international groups to join


PersianLeopardMore Advances in Leopard MovieSpring was started for us withoutstanding news: An adult femalewas again on film! The Iranian CheetahSociety (ICS) is working on the Persian leopardsin northern Iran since 2006 and recently, theIranian National TV has contracted a wildlifedocumentary movie about this area’s richbiodiversity. The first episode of the movie isnamed as “In Search for the Persian Leopard”and ICS biologists and film crew passed a busywinter to find the leopards in harsh climates ofAlborz Mountains. So far, movie camera trapswere deployed by Bagher Nezami and FathollahAmiri in different locations and after November2010 when an adult male was filmed whileshowing territorial marking behavior, in earlyApril 2011 an adult female was trapped forfour minutes. The animal seems to be pregnantwhich according to our previous surveys in thearea; she should have her cub(s) within a month.But a few days before finishing this newsletter,the movie camera trap caught the same femaleon a kill for more than 20 minutes. It was thebest event for the new Persian year (initiated on20 March) because according to an old Persianphrase “If you have a good spring, you will havea nice year”. Now, we are looking forward moresuccess for the leopard movie which can playa significant role for promotion of the speciesknowledge within the Iranian community.Passive HD camera-trap/ICSA Year after ‘Year of Leopard’this effort to cover the leopard’s vast rangeand is hopeful to continue the leopardconservation program to ensure the longtermsurvival of the Persian leopard in Iran.In order to see a detailed report aboutmain activities done during the “Year ofLeopard”, visit our website or click here todownload it in PDF format.Newsletter No.6May 20113


PersianLeopard4Composed of six countries of Turkey,Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia andIran, Caucasian Ecoregion is home to somesmall and isolated population nuclei of leopard.The species has attracted intensive attention byregional and international experts to save thesurvival of the species in the Caucasus. Over thepast years, WWF has undertaken considerableefforts to assess the status of the leopard inthe Caucasus and developed approaches for itsconservation and significant investment into theconservation of the leopard has been justified asthis charismatic large cat.Despite of possession of source population in theecoregion, Iran has been the least active partnerin efforts. Almost 10% of the country’s leopardpopulation occurs in north west where is coveredby the Caucasian ecoregion; however, thespecies has rarely been subject to research andconservation programs by the Iranian agencies,resulted in no management plan to safeguardthe species within Iran as well as to support sinkpopulations in neighboring countries.Organized by WWF Caucasus PragrammeOffice, WWF-Turkey and IUCN/SSC Cat SpecialistGroup, a Regional Workshop on the LeopardConservation in the Caucasus was held inIstanbul, Turkey on 7 and 8 March 2011. ThisNewsletter No.6May 2011Caucasian LeopardConservationWorkshop inTurkeyworkshop was a follow-up of the Meeting onLeopard Conservation in the Caucasus organizedduring 19th International Conference on BearResearch and Management on 18 May, 2010 inTbilisi, Georgia to discuss about current status ofleopard populations in the Caucasus and ways ofits improvement.Along with participants from countries’ expertsand international organizations, an Iraniandelegation actively attended in the meeting,composed of experts from Iranian Departmentof Environment, Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS)and Persian Leopard Conservation Society.Accordingly, Iran will promote its role for theproject and particular efforts will be focusedon this part of the country to enforce leopardconservation. Moreover, a regional meeting isgoing to be hosted by the DoE to synchronizethe project’s measures, especially to establishtrans-boundary reserves. Meanwhile, for moreeffective communication and monitoring,Leopard Conservation Network will be organizedcomposed of international and regional experts,working under supervision of the IUCN/SSC CatSpecialist Group. Now, the Iranian authoritiesare quite committed to enhance their functionto improve status of the leopard in the CaucasusEcoregion.


PersianLeopardTraining for Conserving the LeopardsAccording to a preliminary assessment,it was concluded that local expertsand game wardens suffer from lack ofcomprehensive perception about the leopard,its ecology and needs for survival. Territoriality,population dynamics and ranging activitiesare the main scientific drawbacks of the gamewardens and experts which motivate themto suppose that their habitats sustain highLorestan DoEdensities of the leopards with small homeranges even when prey has depleted drastically.During winter 2010-2011, we were busy toorganize various workshops in different places.It was started in January in Gilan province innorth and Kerman in south, then to the westin Lorestan, followed by Zanjan still in westand West Azarbayjan in northwestern country.Meanwhile, two workshops were organizedin the Departmentof Environment fornational expertsto spread theknowledge of theleopard. Accordingly,9 workshops wereheld during winterin the big country.Fortunately, mostof northwesternprovinces whereare laid within theCaucasian regionwere covered,hopefully helpful forthe leopards in thispart of the country.Leopard Loss Counter (January-December 2010)During 2010, 25 leopards were confirmed tobe poached in Iran which is still a high humancausedmortality rate. Most of these individualswere poached due to conflict with local people, owningthe highest rank for mortalities of the largest existingcat in the country. Meanwhile, we are fully aware thatthis confirmed figure is a small proportion of the reality,as a majority of mortalities are never been heard. TheIranian Cheetah Society (ICS) has been establishingand updating a Persian Leopard Mortality Databasecomposing of human-caused cases since 2001. Sofar, more than 130 leopards have been entered in thedatabase for the last decade. Now, ICS and Panthera areworking together to release a joint analysis to indicatemanagement implications for improving conservationof the species in Iran where holds more than 65% of thePersian leopards in the wild.Source: UnknownNewsletter No.6May 20115


PersianLeopardKhabr National ParkLocated within Khabr-o-RouchonComplex, Khabr National Park(KhNP) encompasses ca. 150000 haof heterogeneous landscapes, from highaltitudemountainous regions to temperatehilly grasslands and riparian environments.The area is laid south of Baft, Kerman Province- Southern Iran, surrounding by severalcounties, populated human settlements andserves as a traditional route for local nomads.Although KhNP is suffering from prolongeddrought, increasing habitat fragmentation/degradation and other human-inducedactivities, it still supports a variety ofendangered species, including the Persianleopard. However, there is a decreasing trendin observation reports of the animal from itsknown habitats inside KhNP. Moreover, thecryptic cat is apparently facing with lack offood resources as a consequence of livestockover-grazing and wild herbivores (i.e. Persianibex, wild sheep, chinkara) poaching, andconflicts with herders and local people.Anecdotal reports suggest historicaloccurrence of Asiatic cheetah and Asiaticblack bear within KhNP which are nowsupposed to be extirpated. Other membersof family Felidae, namely caracal and wild catoccur in the area and presence of sand catand Pallas’ cat is yet need to be confirmed.Mahdi Maki Abadi6ZolfaghariNewsletter No.6May 2011


Thanks to All the PersianLeopard Supporters!The Iranian Cheetah Society thanks allof our supporters who helped us inany stages of creation and distributionof the Persian Leopard Newsletter. Herein,we would like to extend special thanks to thefollowing people [in alphabetic order] forcontributing their time with encouraging usand/or gave us their insightful advices duringreleasing the previous issues of PLN:Al Fulaji, N (People’s Trust for EndangeredSpecies [PTES], UK); Angelici, F M(Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali,Cattedra di Zoologia dei Vertebrati Universitàdella Tuscia, Italy); Bailey, T (Wildlife MiddleEast News [WME News]); Bath, A (GeographyDepartment, Memorial University, St.John’s, Canada) Bernard, G (Film-maker,France); Bezuidenhout, H (AERU, Kimberley,South African National Park); Bjorklund,A (Carnivore Center Gronklitt, Sweden);Butynski, T M (King Khalid WildlifeResearch Centre); Can, O E (Department ofBiology, Middle East Technical University,Ankara); Chardonnet, Ph (FondationInternationale pour la Sauvegarde de laFaune); Caro, T (Department of Wildlife,Fish and Conservation Biology, Universityof California); Chavda D [Divyabhanusinh](WWF-India and the Wildlife Advisory Board,Government of Rajasthan, India); Cuyten, K(Alertis and Anatolian Leopard Foundation);Ettinger, P (the online wildlife magazine[Wildlife Extra]); Groff, C (Provincia Autonomadi Trento - Servizio Foreste e Fauna Via Trener,Italy); Heinrich, B (Department of Biology,University of Vermont); Hemmer, H (InstitutPersianLeopardfür physiologische Zoologie, UniversitätMainz); Karamanlidis, A A (ARCTUROS andHellenic Society for the Study and Protectionof the Monk seal); Kashkarov, E (Instituteof Biology of Irkutsk State University); Kiabi,B H (Biological Science Faculty, ShahidBeheshti University, Tehran); Kitchener,A C (Department of Natural Sciences,National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh);Lernould J-M (Conservation des Espèces etdes Populations Animales [CEPA], France);Maheshwari, A (Wildlife Institute of India);Manati, A R (Department of Biology,Kabul University); Meijaard, E (School ofArchaeology and Anthropology, AustralianNational University and the NatureConservancy-East Kalimantan Program,Indonesia); Nader I A (King Khalid WildlifeResearch Centre); Qureshi, Q (WildlifeInstitute of India); Ragni, B (Instituto deZoologia, Università delgi Studi, Via Elce diSotto, Italy); Rozhnov, V V (A. N. SevertsovInstitute of the Ecology and Evolution,Russian Academy of Sciences); Sanderson,J (Wildlife Conservation Network andSmall Wild Cat Conservation Foundation);Schaller, G B (Wildlife Conservation Society,New York Zoological Society and Panthera’sVice President); Shoemaker, A (AZA FelidTAG, US); Sironen, A (Cleveland MetroparksZoo); Sliwa, A (EAZA Felid TAG, Cologne Zoo,Germany); Stanton, D B (Foundation for theProtection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen);Tricorache, P (Cheetah Conservation Fund,Namibia); van Maanen, E (Anatolian LeopardFoundation); van Manen, F (LeetownScience Center, University of Tennessee)Newsletter No.6May 20117


Special thanks to …The last issue of Persian Leopard Newsletteris published with special thanks to all donorswho enabled us to do something for the Persianleopards during the “Year of Leopard”.We would like to thank Nida Al-Fulaji andJill Nelson from the UK’s People’s Trust forEndangered Species (PTES) for the hassle-freenature of the grant disbursal, who allowed usto use it in the best way possible to implementan organized effort for the leopards in Iran. Weare also greatly indebted to the Biodiversityand Wildlife Bureau of Iranian Departmentof Environment and Conservation of AsiaticCheetah Project (CACP) because of facilitatingcapacity building workshops for local expertsand game wardens across the country. Wewould also like to thank Talaee Publication Ltd.who provided financial support to produce aneducational pamphlet about the leopard.The Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) is alsograteful to Dr Martina Raffel from AllwetterZoo (Germany), Raymond van der Meerfrom Amersfoort Zoo (the Netherlands), andGregory Burton from Parc des Felins (France)for provision of additional funds to covervarious conservation projects on the Persianleopards in Iran. Dr Jean-Marc Lernould fromConservation des Espèces et des PopulationsAnimales [CEPA] (France) and Prins BernhardNatuurfonds, the Netherlands providedadditional funds and equipment for researchprojects which are appreciated.Mr Ali Zolfaghari (ICS representative inthe Netherlands), Dr Majid Seyedi (ICSrepresentative in France), Mrs MahboubehShirkhorshidi (ICS representative in the UK)and Dr Katayun Afshar (ICS representative inSwitzerland) helped us for fund-raising effortswhich are all deeply appreciated.A number of the ICS’ staffs participated inpreparation of this newsletter, including SabaSohrabinia, Elmira Sharbafi, HamidrezaMirzadeh and Mohammad Farhadinia led byEhsan Moqanaki whose help during the year ofleopard is not ignorable.Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) isa non-governmental, non-profitableorganization devoted to save thebiodiversity which is so rich, butdisappearing in Iran. Carnivoreshave essential priority within theICS activities and various researchand conservation projects have beenimplemented on the species, such asAsiatic cheetah, brown bear, stripedhyeana, grey wolf, Eurasian lynx,caracal, mustelids and Persian leopardwhose more than two third of its wildpopulation occurs in Iran. It has beenestablished in 2001 (registrationnumber 13640) and hopes to celebrateits first decade of biodiversityconservation soon.To learn more about IranianCheetah Society (ICS)visit: www.wildlife.irContact us on:persianleopard@wildlife.ir

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