Iran-Iraq war saving Persian leopards


This video says about itself:

The Journey into wild Iran (English)

6 September 2013

Wildlife photographer returns to his native home Iran to document its little-known wilderness and extraordinary collection of plants and animals — from wild donkeys to cheetahs, leopards, striped hyenas, golden eagles and giant lizards

From the New Zealand Herald:

Endangered leopards thriving in minefields

5:00 AM Monday Dec 29, 2014

For humans it probably ranks as one of the world’s most dangerous nature reserves, but the mine-strewn border between Iran and Iraq has become an unlikely sanctuary for one of the world’s most endangered species of leopard.

The legacy of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s has left up to 30 million landmines in the region, allowing the endangered Persian leopard to roam free from the threat of poachers. The munitions continue to kill and maim residents along the 1450km border, but in the mountainous Kurdistan region there are reports the Persian leopard, which rarely puts all its weight down on one paw, is too light to detonate the Soviet-era pressure-triggered landmines.

Conservation efforts in the region have floundered since the 1980s. But the unofficial leopard sanctuaries along the border now mean that conservation charities in the area are in the unusual position of planning to oppose new plans to remove landmines. “Environmentally speaking, mines are great because they keep people out,” Azzam Alwash, the head of Nature Iraq, told National Geographic.

Conservationists report that the danger of landmines is a far greater deterrent than law enforcement. Although the 80kg leopards are too light to set off anti-tank mines or less advanced anti-personnel mines, two of the animals died after setting off more advanced tripwire mines.

The animal is listed on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, with research showing that more than 70 were poisoned or illegally killed for their pelts from 2007 to 2011.

The Iran-Iraq border minefields are not the only conflict zone offering protection to wildlife. The demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea is also a haven for wildlife, while the Falkland Islands‘ penguin population has thrived in several large minefields laid during the brief 1982 Argentinian occupation.

Persian leopard

• Scientists now believe that fewer than 1000 wild Persian leopards remain.

• The natural habitat of the Persian leopard ranges from eastern Turkey to western Pakistan and includes vast tracts of the Caucasus and Russia.

• Most of the surviving leopards are to be found in Iran on the border with Iraq.

Indian leopards and humans, new research


This video fom India is called Human & Leopard ~ A Conflict – part01.

From Wildlife Extra:

Leopards live closer to people than previously thought

In a bid to understand how leopards relate to humans and adapt to their presence five leopards (two males and three females) that have been residing in human-dominated areas in India and perceived as ‘problem animals’, have been radio-collared. Two were released more than 50 km (31 miles) away from the site of capture, while the remaining three were released near the site of capture.

The scientists monitored the animals’ activities, for up to a year post-release, recording their behaviour and the strategies they adopt to avoid direct contact with people.

They found immediately after release, the two translocated animals moved 89 km (55 miles) and 45 km respectively (28 miles) away from the release sites and applied tactics to avoid encountering people, despite dependence on their resources, the scientists found.

This included mostly moving at night, when they also would often venture within 25 metres of people’s homes.

“This gave them an access to people’s livestock, and yet kept them safe from people,” said co-author Vidya Athreya of WCS India.

The two translocated animals occupied bigger home ranges (42 km [26 miles]and 65 km [40 miles] respectively), including one in the outskirts of Mumbai. The other three lived in areas with highest human densities, but occupied smallest home ranges (8-15 sq km) (3-5.7 square miles) ever recorded for leopards anywhere.

“The home ranges of the three animals are comparable to those in highly-productive protected areas with a very good prey density,” said Athreya. “This indicated that food sources associated with humans [domestic animals] supported these leopards.”

The scientists believe from the evidence that leopards in human areas are not always stray or victims of conflict like previously thought bat rather resident animals, potentially requiring policy makers to rethink India’s leopard-management strategies. Moreover, two of the females even gave birth to cubs during the course of the study, confirming their residence.

Despite living in close proximity to humans and even being dependent on their resources, none of the leopards were involved in human deaths during capture or following release.

Save leopards in Azerbaijan


This video says about itself:

Panthera‘s mission is to ensure the future of wild cats through scientific leadership and global conservation action. We have brought together the world’s leading wild cat experts to direct and implement effective conservation strategies for the world’s largest and most endangered cats: tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards. Our approach to wild cat conservation is rooted in science and based upon decades of first hand field experience. We seek a future in which the world’s 37 wild cat species have the necessary and ongoing protection from human and environmental threats to persist and thrive in the wild. Our vision sees endangered wild cat populations rebounded, critical habitats and core populations connected by genetic and biological corridors, and a global commitment to protect these iconic species through near and distant futures.

Learn more about specific Panthera programs designed to protect the world’s endangered wild cats @ http://bit.ly/q3oFsu.

From Wildlife Extra:

Action on Azerbaijan’s few remaining Caucasian leopards

The future of the Caucasian (or Persian) leopard took a step forward last week with the establishment of a conservation agreement between Panthera, the world’s leading wild cat conservation organisation, and the International Dialogue for Environmental Action (IDEA) of Azerbaijan.

Panthera joined international wild cat scientists, environmental NGOs, and stakeholders at IDEA’s Caucasus Cat Summit in Baku recently to help plan the long-term preservation of the Caucasian leopard and Azerbaijan’s other unique wildlife.

Through this agreement, Panthera and IDEA have committed to assess the state and range of Azerbaijan’s leopards and, most importantly, work to develop conservation plans for the critically endangered population and train Azerbaijan’s scientists in research and conservation methodologies focused on saving the Caucasian leopard.

IDEA aims to foster conservation action among the country’s citizens, with a particular focus on the youth and next generation of Azerbaijan’s conservationists.

“We welcome Azerbaijan’s initiative in seeking to protect and expand its leopard population,” said Dr Thomas Kaplan, Panthera’s Chairman. “Having just launched the conservation world’s first global programme for leopard conservation, Project Pardus, we look forward to working with IDEA to make our shared ambition of saving this iconic species become a reality.”

Scientists estimate that a small but vital population of 12 or fewer Caucasian leopards remains in Azerbaijan. As the first, urgent step under this new international collaboration, 20 PantheraCams – remote-triggered cameras developed by Panthera – will be deployed to delineate where leopards still occur in Azerbaijan and estimate their remaining numbers.

Sitting at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan is one of just a handful of countries that still supports a population of the Caucasian leopard and is therefore critical to the long-term survival of this wild cat. In conserving the Caucasian leopard, Azerbaijan is not only helping to preserve the species and the country’s diverse ecosystems, but is also conserving the ancient and historic cultural heritage of its country and people.

The leopard is heavily threatened by poachers who target this cat for its exotic skin and body parts, which are sold through the illegal wildlife market. Loss of habitat and fragmentation, particularly in the South Caucasus region, is another major threat along with conflict with local livestock herders and overhunting of the leopard’s prey by local villagers.

To read more about Panthera’s recently launched leopard programme, Project Pardus, please click here.

Photos: Black leopards spotted on camera traps: here.

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Country singer Shania Twain helping leopards


This video is called The Leopard Queen [Full Nature Wildlife Documentary].

From Wildlife Extra:

Shania Twain to help save leopards

Superstar country singer Shania Twain has joined cat conservation charity Panthera as a Global Ambassador for its newly launched leopard conservation initiative, Project Pardus. Twain intends to use her global platform to make the connection between the cat’s renowned beauty and its plight in the wild.

“The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself,” said Shania. “That it is also the most oppressed of the big cats is almost unknown. If we’re to save this animal in the wild, we have to get ahead of the curve before it suffers the same fate as so many other species that we once felt to be secure in their numbers. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it…and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission.”

Leopards are threatened by the relentless destruction of habitat, and are being killed in the thousands by livestock herders, unsustainable trophy-hunting and poaching for their skins and body parts.

Panthera’s work already encompasses the African leopard as well as the endangered Persian or Caucasian leopard of Central Asia and the highly persecuted Indian leopard. With Project Pardus, the organization will launch new conservation initiatives that target other highly endangered sub-species including the Arabian leopard and the Sri Lankan leopard.

“The leopard is an amazingly versatile cat, able to live in habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to the Kalahari Desert,’’ said Dr. Luke Hunter, Panthera’s President and one of the world’s authorities on leopards. “However, that adaptability has meant the species has been largely ignored by conservationists. We are delighted and honoured that Shania will help put the leopard onto the conservation radar. With her help, the leopard will receive the urgent attention it needs.”

This music video from the USA is called Shania Twain Up! Live In Chicago 2003.

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Armenian leopards win vote


This video from Armenia says about itself:

Caucasian Leopard in the Caucaus Wildlife Refuge – Daytime

29 August 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of the leopard‘s presence in the CWR and FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Saving Armenia’s leopard wins £25,000 grant

The World Land Trust’s project, Saving Armenia’s Leopard – has won a grant of £25,000 from National Geographic Germany. In an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) during the second half of March 2014, more than 52,000 votes were cast for 17 conservation projects all vying for funding.

WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) will use the grant (approximately £25,000) to preserve habitat for the endangered caucasian leopard.

This sub species of leopard is registered as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and has a total population of no more than 1,300. The caucasian leopard’s stronghold is in Iran, where it is known as the Persian Leopard, but in Armenia there may be as few as 15 individuals remaining.

FPWC will use the grant to strengthen existing research and monitoring of this little studied and endangered predator. Funds will also be used to restore degraded mountainsides with a programme to plant 4,000 trees and to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with local communities.

Thanking all supporters, Ruben Khachatryan, FPWC’s founding Director, said: “Community development is a crucial cornerstone in our effort to protect the Caucasian Leopard. In Armenia most villages located in remote mountainous areas suffer from extreme poverty, triggering illegal logging for firewood on steep mountain slopes, over collection of wild edible crops, unsustainable livestock grazing and, of course, poaching. These human activities destroy the habitat of the Caucasian Leopard and many other rare species.

“FPWC’s Rural Eco-tourism programme – as well as the reforestation measures – addresses these problems and we are more than happy that the grant will help us not only to intensify our research and monitoring of the leopard but also to develop new income opportunities for the local population.”

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Leopard discovery in Java, Indonesia


This video is about leopards.

From Antara news agency in Indonesia:

Leopard detected in conservation forests in East Java

Tue, February 4 2014 23:33

Tulungagung, E Java – The East Java chapter of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has detected Javanese leopards (Panthera pardus melas) in four conservation forests in the region, stated its head, Hartoyo.

He released the statement here on Tuesday, in response to a declaration on saving the endangered Javanese leopard issued at a Javanese leopard conservation conference in Bogor, West Java, on January 29-30, 2014.

“So far, we have come to know about it, based on the reports indicating the existence of the wild animal and also from some eye witnesses,” he remarked during a telephonic conversation, when asked to give confirmation about the existence of the Javanese leopard.

He admitted that the existence of the Javanese leopard was not properly documented as it is not included as species whose protection must be prioritized based on the ministerial regulation.

The Javanese bull (Bos javanicus), Javanese eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi), and cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) have been identified by the ministry as three rare species and their monitoring has been prioritized.

The Javanese leopard is not included in the BKSDAs monitoring priority list as it is not included in the list of protected animals, although its existence in the forests is almost extinct.

“We are awaiting a legal decision to declare the Javanese leopard as a protected animal before we can make any protection plans,” he emphasized.

He explained that the existence of the big cat has been threatened by the loss of habitat due to deforestation as well as conflict with humans and diseases.

In the past five years, the Javanese leopard has been spotted in the Ijen (Bondowoso), Sempu (Malang), Sigoho, and Picis (Ponorogo) forests, he claimed.

However, their existence had yet to be confirmed based on the research and scientific monitoring data, he added.

“Now, confirmation of its existence is based on an ocular analysis and general information obtained from the witnesses. There has been no direct contact between the BKSDA officials and the animal, except in Ijen, some time ago,” he stated.

Leopard observer Hendra Gunawan pointed out that the Javanese leopard is the only big cat that still exists in Java after the Javanese tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) was declared extinct in the 1980s.

“Thus, unless serious efforts are made to protect the leopard, the fate of this big cat will also follow suit,” he remarked at the conference in Bogor.

The Javanese leopard has been categorized as critically endangered species and put in the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature under the category Appendix I in CITES.

No exact data is available on the exact numbers of the Javanese leopard existing in the forests of Java.

“Since mapping was conducted four years ago, the animal was mostly found in Halimun-Salak or Pangrango Mountain (West Java),” Hendra reported.

Reporting by Slamet Agus Sudarmojo

February 2014: Two men have been arrested in Malaysia by wildlife authorities following the discovery of a leopard carcass and a mouse deer at a bus stop near the town of Karak, in the state of Pahang, on the east coast of the country. Markings on the leopard’s foreleg indicate that a snare was used, a practice which is widespread among poachers in South-East Asia: here.

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Amur leopards, new video


This video says about itself:

Spotted Family. Russian Reality Show. All Parts

28 Jan 2014

We will show you something no one has seen before on Earth!!!

This is a real life of a real large Amur leopard family in its true colors and with no visual effects!

From WWF today:

New footage reveals family life of elusive Amur leopard

14 minutes ago

Video footage released today of one of the most endangered species on the planet, the Amur leopard, provides vital information to help conservation efforts.

Camera trap footage from eastern Russia filmed in November and December of 2013 and made available this month, reveals how the highly endangered Amur leopard raises kittens in the wild as well as giving an insight into family behavior.

In November 2013, Land of the Leopard National Park and WWF started a joint project, “Leopard’s Reality Show”, installing 10 hidden camera traps near the remains of a sika deer.

The 78 hours of unique video material shows how the female Amur leopard, named Kedrovka, feeds her kittens with the sika deer, trains them, and resolves their disputes. She has three kittens, a rare occurrence for leopards. We see how kittens play and fight for meat, discover the world by studying birds, weasels, and mice, and experience first fears and pain.

“In the video we can see how the mother urges the weakest kitten to eat after the other two have abandoned the prey. But it is not as fussy as most human mothers, when the weakest kitten starts to limp on one paw and whines about it, the mother just ignores it”, said Vasily Solkin from WWF-Russia Amur branch, who compiled the footage.

Previously scientists believed that similar to a lion pride, leopards from one “family” ate prey together. However this footage shows that leopard kittens approach the deer in turns, with the strongest eating first and the weakest last.

This means that any leopard “meal” takes a long time, and the last kitten always has the smallest chance of being fed because a strange noise or other threat may force the leopards to move on and leave the kill.

This fact explains why female leopards sometimes choose to give attention only to two kittens, even if they give birth to three. Very often, the third or even the second kitten does not survive in the long term.

All information gathered about leopard upbringing is crucial for WWF conservation efforts. With few leopards left, they may be genetically too close and inbreeding may weaken their chances of survival.

There are plans in the science community to introduce new leopards into the wild by breeding leopards from zoos but to ensure that the program is successful, it is important to know how leopards are raised and taught hunting skills in the wild.

Amur leopards live in the northernmost part of the species range in far-eastern Russia. A Census in 2013 showed that there are 48 to 50 Amur leopards remaining in the wild, about 80 per cent of the species’ former range disappeared between 1970 and 1983.

Habitat destruction by unsustainable logging, forest fires and land conversion for farming infrastructure development are the main causes, while the species has also been hit hard by ungulate poaching. Ungulates are large, hoofed mammals and the main prey for Amur leopards.

Numbers are increasing from a few years ago when just 30 remained and WWF plans to keep this upward trend with extensive conservation measures. Every leopard has a unique pattern of spots, so experts can recognize almost every one of the remaining leopard by photo or video images.

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