Monday, 7 January 2013

Eleven leopards identified on proposed road route in Iran

Bafq Protected Area under threat from new road
January 2013. During a one year monitoring program in Bafq Protected Area in central Iran, eleven Persian leopards were identified, including four males and four females, and two of them are accompanied by one single and one set of twin cubs. Moreover, one of single females was filmed accompanied by an adult male which can be indication of breeding of the third female in the population.

Launched in January 2012, a one year camera trapping program was implemented by the Iranian Cheetah Society(ICS) and Yazd Department of Environment in partnership with ( Asiatic Cheetah Project) CACP and Pantherato understand the population make up of the Asiatic cheetah and the Persian leopard across multiple reserves in central Iran, including Bafq.

It is unusual record two different families of the leopards in a single area in west Asia, and this suggests the high potential of Bafq to re-colonize surrounding habitats, if they are properly protected. According to recent information, the female with two cubs has successfully raised her cubs and they have now left her and become independent; her last image shows that she is now solitary, probably looking around to find a mate for the next year. Moreover, both of her independent offspring have been confirmed to be female, making 6 female leopards in a single reserve, assuming that all four of the other females are still alive.

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