Endangered leopard images are proof of conservation progress in Caucasus

May 2, 2014
At least one male and two females are believed to have been living in an area of Southern Armenia for the last year, giving hope that one of the females may produce cubs. Credit: WWF-Caucasus

New images of the endangered Caucasian leopard emerged this week proving ten years of conservation efforts are working.

Camera trap images taken over the last eight months in Southern Armenia 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.

"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 activities here", said Nugzar Zazanshvili, Conservation Director at WWF-Caucasus.

According to the camera trapped photos and field monitoring data the number of prey species for the leopard has also significantly increased.

WWF together with the IUCN/SCC Cat Specialist Group developed a Regional Strategy on Leopard Conservation with involvement from various organizations 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 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, 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.

Last summer two Caucasian cubs were born in Russia, the first for 50 years.

Explore further: First Persian leopard cubs born in Russia for 50 years

Related Stories

Olympic mascot calls attention to snow leopards' plight

January 28, 2014

When the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off next month in the Russian city of Sochi, attention will focus on thousands of elite athletes, scores of broadcasters and three cuddly animal mascots, including the appealing - but endangered ...

Rare Amur leopard killed in China

January 20, 2014

An extremely rare Amur leopard has been killed in China, state media reported Monday, as police searched for the suspected trapper.

First camera trap photos of rare leopard in China

April 25, 2012

The first-known camera trap photos of an Amur leopard in China have recently been taken by protected area staff in Hunchun Amur Tiger National Nature Reserve in Jilin Province according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. ...

Recommended for you

Lab charts the anatomy of three molecular channels

January 23, 2017

Using a state-of-the-art imaging technology in which molecules are deep frozen, scientists in Roderick MacKinnon's lab at Rockefeller University have reconstructed in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional architecture ...

New steps in the meiosis chromosome dance

January 23, 2017

Where would we be without meiosis and recombination? For a start, none of us sexually reproducing organisms would be here, because that's how sperm and eggs are made. And when meiosis doesn't work properly, it can lead to ...

Research describes missing step in how cells move their cargo

January 23, 2017

Every time a hormone is released from a cell, every time a neurotransmitter leaps across a synapse to relay a message from one neuron to another, the cell must undergo exocytosis. This is the process responsible for transporting ...

Immune defense without collateral damage

January 23, 2017

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have clarified the role of the enzyme MPO. In fighting infections, this enzyme, which gives pus its greenish color, produces a highly aggressive acid that can kill pathogens ...

Provocative prions may protect yeast cells from stress

January 23, 2017

Prions have a notorious reputation. They cause neurodegenerative disease, namely mad cow/Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. And the way these protein particles propagate—getting other proteins to join the pile—can seem insidious.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.