Your Impact on the leopards

Training tour for anti-poaching units

Training tour for anti-poaching units

Working as a ranger can be exciting, challenging, tough, but sometimes boring. Why? Spending three decades of life in a few valleys without receiving additional training, it is hard to find motivation and a positive drive, no matter how passionate and dedicated you are. Working 20 days each month to patrol vast mountains and plains leaves no time for rangers to get new insights and experiences. Often, rangers have never seen any other place than the area they patrol. We have been planning to arrange dedicated tours for rangers, supporting them to visit other reserves and to get to know colleagues working in other leopard areas. The first training tour was organized between 8 and 11 May 2017. Eight rangers from Dohezar-Sehezar visited Tandoureh National Park. They had the chance to meet Tandoureh’s rangers and to exchange their experience with poaching and countermeasures. In the meantime, visitor rangers learned more about eco-trips for local school kids within Tandoureh. The tour, which was supported by the Future4Leopards Foundation, was highly welcomed by rangers and the next tours are being planned already.

Detecting poachers in the lands of leopards

Poaching poses a serious threat to wildlife and is most of the time hard to witness. Poachers carefully monitor ranger activities, gathering information on patrol activities in different areas. This allows them to identify the most vulnerable locations and times for different species. In many cases, understaffed and under-equipped rangers have to make a stand against poachers who are far better equipped. Future4Leopards Foundation aims to assist rangers in enhancing their anti-poaching performance through provision of equipment, proper infrastructures and, more recently, hidden camera traps. We are now donating camera traps to rangers within our pilot sites, the goal being twofold: monitoring poacher activity and studying wildlife, including leopards. Our trial project to detect poachers using camera traps has proven to work well. So far, we have detected at least 4 different gangs of poachers in Tandoureh and Dohezar-Sehezar. This was thanks to camera traps we donated to these areas. Currently, we are working to train local rangers to improve the deployment and management of these anti-poaching surveillance camera traps. In combination with an increase in the amount of camera traps, we are convinced this technology will be of great help in the reduction of poaching.

Trails for rangers to stop poachers

Working in rugged mountains is challenging, especially if proper trails do not exist. Rangers do their best to patrol mountains, in order to deter poachers from entering and shooting animals. However, central parts of reserves have limited accessibility, and sometimes they become a refuge for poachers who stay there for several days of shooting. We explored this problem during our ongoing camera trapping investigations in Tandoureh National Park. Accordingly, the Future4Leopards Foundation made a decision, aiming to increase anti-poaching efficacy. In partnership with our local stakeholders, we developed a plan to define top priority trails to be constructed for better accessibility of rangers. Finally, two trails were identified to be suitable pathways, a total of 4 km long. However there was another challenge, we had to make sure that these trails are used only by rangers and not poachers. We designed trails to start from ranger posts, so no one could enter unattended. Local villagers were hired to build trails and now rangers have much better access into the National Park’s heart.

Fleece jacket for rangers

Mountains are extremely cold during winter, especially when you have to patrol occasionally on motorbikes. This is why we are providing local rangers with proper jumpers and fleece jackets, in support of their activities. Thanks to our long-standing friend in the Netherlands, Ali Zolfaghari, we were able to procure 17 Taiga fleece jackets for all rangers working in Bafq Protected Area, one of the Project’s key sites in central Iran. These programs support and motivate rangers, the frontiers in anti-poaching and has been a high priority for the Foundation, since inception. Currently, 13 rangers are working in Bafq, where is one of the last strongholds for Persian leopard across drylands of central Iran. In 2011, a total of 11 leopards (including 3 cubs) were identified using camera traps in the area, and with close partnership of our local partners, especially rangers and Bafq Volunteers Organization, we are currently working to update the leopard number using camera traps.

Discover the Persian leopard

The leopard (Panthera pardus Linnaeus 1978) is one of the most widely distributed terrestrial species, with a global range of at least 80 countries across a wide variety of habitats, from rainforests to deserts. After the disappearance of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) and Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) prior to the 1970s, the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) remains as the largest cat in western Asia. Presently, it is considered “endangered” on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
Arid environments of the Middle East are typically low-productive landscapes which harbour a number of threatened large carnivores, including the leopard. Leopards range across the mountains and foothills of west Asia from Turkmenistan and Afghanistan through Iran to the Caucasus, as well as the Arabian Peninsula. A substantial proportion of their distribution across this region is spatially non-contiguous, influenced by human disturbance and extremely low annual rainfall (<200 mm per annum). Low rainfall limits leopard density through constrained primary productivity...

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