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201411May19:24

Endan­gered leop­ard images are proof of con­ser­va­tion progress in Caucasus

Infor­ma­tion
pub­lished 11 May 2014 | mod­i­fied 11 May 2014
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New images of the endan­gered Cau­casian leop­ard emerged this week prov­ing ten years of con­ser­va­tion efforts are working.

Persian leopard nakhchivanCam­era trap images taken over the last eight months in South­ern Arme­nia and the Nakhchy­van Auton­omy region of Azer­bai­jan show that at least one male and two females have been liv­ing in the area for the last year with hopes the females will deliver cubs.

Images of more Cau­casian leop­ards from Azer­bai­jan this month have given con­ser­va­tion­ists indi­ca­tions that up to seven indi­vid­u­als are liv­ing in the South­ern Cau­cuses region. Fur­ther­more, accord­ing to the cam­era trap pho­tos and field mon­i­tor­ing data the num­ber of prey species for the leop­ard has also sig­nif­i­cantly increased.

Such increas­ing evi­dence can be inter­preted as pos­i­tive trends in the leop­ard pop­u­la­tion par­tic­u­larly in the south­ern part of the Cau­ca­sus, which must be closely con­nected with our 10 years of leop­ard con­ser­va­tion activ­i­ties here
Nugzar Zazan­shvili, Con­ser­va­tion Direc­tor, WWF-​Caucasus »

WWF together with the IUCN/​SCC Cat Spe­cial­ist Group devel­oped a Regional Strat­egy on Leop­ard Con­ser­va­tion with involve­ment from var­i­ous organ­i­sa­tions of the Cau­ca­sus Ecore­gion. The strat­egy was adopted by the gov­ern­ments of Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan and Geor­gia as part of National Action Plans. It included ele­ments such as increased mon­i­tor­ing of the species, com­bat­ing poach­ing and increas­ing the num­ber of pro­tected areas.

Since 2002 four new pro­tected areas were estab­lished in south­ern Arme­nia, which include leop­ard habi­tats, and cover 2.9% of the country.



Cau­casian or Per­sian leop­ard
Cau­casian leop­ard num­bers are esti­mated to be fewer than 1300 indi­vid­u­als, and range from Iran to the North Cau­ca­sus region in Rus­sia. Also known as the Per­sian leop­ard (Pan­thera par­dus ssp. saxi­color), its pop­u­la­tion was once wide­spread through­out the moun­tain­ous region between the Black and Caspian Seas, but declined dras­ti­cally through­out the 20th cen­tury due to poach­ing and habi­tat loss. The species is listed as Endan­gered by the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species™.

Last sum­mer two Cau­casian leop­ard cubs were born in the Per­sian Leop­ard Breed­ing and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre, Sochi National Park in south-​western Rus­sia, the first in 50 years.



(Source: WWF Global news, 02.05.2014)


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