|Town/Region||Bamou National Park|
|Country||Iran, Islamic Republic of|
|Categories||Communities, Education, Mammals|
|Date||29 Apr 2008|
The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) is the largest of leopard subspecies which is listed in the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as "Endangered". Over the past 25 years in many areas of its vast range the leopard was exterminated and in the others its numbers were significantly reduced. The drastic decline of population size has been a result of poaching, prey reduction and habitat loss.
The number of leopards living in Bamu National Park was guesstimated earlier as 15-20 animals which is among the highest leopard numbers for any studied protected area in Iran. Today, this national park has been surrounded by ever increasing urban areas and other settlements which are encroaching additional lands and converting them to human landscapes. Proximity of Bamu to Shiraz city, roads and villages makes it quite easily accessible to poachers, shepherds with sheep flocks, and holiday makers. Indeed the human-leopard conflicts are among the highest in Bamu which urges a sustainable management guideline in near future.
In this project, we will focus on increasing public awareness in the neighbouring communities to reduce leopard and prey poaching and building capacities to promote ecotourism-based sustainable development of local communities, having chosen the Persian leopard as a symbol of environmental conservation.
Educational workshops, school presentations, festivals and dissemination of published materials among local communities will be the most important actions for leopard conservation in Bamu National Park. Establishment and training of the volunteer group of game wardens and locals to conserve the Persian leopard ("leopard conservation trust") will ensure the long-term sustainability of conservation of the leopard and all other biodiversity in Bamu National Park.
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