According to Mehdi Taheri, this is the first time that the panther is spotted in the current year, and before that its footprints were found in the region.
Back in April 2020, three Persian leopards and a Pallas cat have been spotted in the mountainous habitats of Firouzkuh county, the northeastern part of the capital Tehran. At the time, the camera footages raised hopes for the survival of the species in this habitat.
Persian leopard and Pallas cat are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The Persian leopard is a leopard population distributed in the Caucasus from Southern Russia to Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It forms the subspecies Panthera pardus tulliana together with the Anatolian leopard population in Turkey.
According to the Department of Environment, 156 leopards have been killed in Iran from 2005 to 2014, nearly 20 leopards a year. Studies indicate that currently there are less than 500 leopards nationwide.
Persian leopards are mainly threatened by poaching, depletion of their prey base due to poaching, human disturbances, habitat loss due to deforestation, fire, agricultural expansion, overgrazing, and infrastructure development.
In Iran, primary threats are habitat disturbances followed by illegal hunting and excess of livestock in the leopard habitats. The leopards’ chances for survival outside protected areas appear very slim.