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Iranian Cheetah Faces Extiction

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP), May 1998 - The Iranian jaguar, of which  no more than 40 still exist, is threatened with extinction, an Iranian ecological group said Wednesday.

The Green Front of Iran said there are "strong risks" that the jaguars will suffer the same fate as the country's lions and tigers, which have disappeared through a reduction of their natural habitat and hunting, the official IRNA news agency quoted the group,

Iran is the last country in Asia with jaguars, which live in thick forest in its northern regions bordering the Caspian sea,  it said.

For more information on the Iranian (Asian) cheetah see this page from the Cat Specialist Group.

A Step to Protect the Iranian Panther

by A. Sahand
Information, Tourism, Economic & Social (Monthly)
June - July 1998, No. 1

The Iranian panther, as the only surviving species of Asian panthers who used to live in a wide stretch of land extending from Eastern Mediterranean (Syria and Sinai peninsula) to east India and from Yemen to shores of Aral Lake, is one of the most important species of cat family. Although Iranian lions and tigers became extinct in the past due to negligence or carelessness, today we cannot repeat such an unforgivable sin by seeing the generation of this valuable species of animal, who is the most important among all other animals in Iran, become extinct.

`Acinonyx Jubatus' panther, as a theory put forward by Wozencraft (1993) and confirmed by IUCN, has been categorized in the book `Wild Cats' (by Kristin Nowell and Peter Jackson), as follows:

In the view of some experts, Asian panthers and panthers living in North Africa are in the same category but some other experts such as Hemmer they are in separate categories.

The species living in North Africa has a small body and their color is brighter and its spots are brownish while the Iranian species is more like the species of South Africa in terms of its color and spots and even its tail has black circular lines.

The study on Asian panther, which is limited to Iranian panther, is still in its preliminary stage and any definite comments on their final classification, number, habitats, reproduction, feeding and other information about them is pending the outcome of this study.

Asian panthers in Iran live in desert lands and steppes. According to documented reports, their habitats in Iran are confined to Khar and Touran region, Tabas, Bafq of Yazd, Varamin desert, Bahram Gour region of Fars Province and one or two other regions.

The protection of this valuable species of animal whose number has unfortunately dropped drastically in recent years, has been put on the agenda of EPO officials in Iran and under a contract signed by this organization on one side and the Mainz University of Germany and IUNC on the other.

A project is to be implemented in four stages for protection of panthers in Iran, as follows:

First stage: Collection of information and reports on hand which has been carried out by Dr Hormuz Assadi on behalf of IUCN.

Second stage: Conducting of desert-based studies and compilation of a comprehensive report on living conditions and habitats of panthers as well as other biological researches. This stage will be carried out by experts from IUCN and Mainz University in cooperation with Dr Hormuz Assadi and other Iranian experts with the Environmental Protection Organization. All relevant films, pictures and documents as well as the outcome of researches will be put at the disposal of EPO.

Third stage: Forging a plan or project for protection of this species based on the studies of the second stages by IUCN and Mainz University.

Fourth stage: Implementation of the third stage project by EPO under supervision and with technical help of IUCN and Mainz University.

The project will be funded by Mainz University and IUCN and EPO will mobilize all its capabilities for implementation of the project.

It has also been agreed that an EPO expert be dispatched to Germany by the end of the second stage to undergo a six month training course at the Mainz University so as to undertake the responsibility for the third stage.

Though being a little late, the measure is considered as the beginning of a move towards conservation of natural resources and wild life including panthers, in Iran.

1- IUCN stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature which is sometimes called World Conservation Union. This institute has several working groups, each having lots of experts.