The conflict between communities and large carnivores is a serious and escalating problem that has led to the removal of many these animals from the scene of conflict as well as economic loss for people. A lack of necessary training among conservationists, including experts and rangers, has resulted in improper management when serious conflicts occur, particularly with leopards. During the 2000s, some 10 leopards were killed by rangers or military personnel after they had approached a community – for example, entering a settlement or an animal pen. In many cases, the rangers involved had not received sufficient training to handle such situations.
Accordingly, in partnership with Iran’s Department of the Environment, we are developing a national Conflict Resolution Manual, the first comprehensive guide for conservation practitioners and other stakeholders on the effective management and prevention of conflict with large carnivores. The manual is available to local experts, who are also given proper training in the management of conflict cases, which happen quite regularly in and around many leopard reserves.
Equally important, a rescue team has been established to provide a quick response to urgent occurrences of human–leopard conflict anywhere in the country. The rescue team’s aims are to give expert guidance in assessing situations correctly and on how to deal with them. This can be done by phone, but if necessary team members can visit the site in person to assist in identification of the problem and advise on the best follow-up actions. In some particularly urgent cases where it is clear that the leopard cannot be left in its current habitat, we provide technical support to the DoE for the animal’s safe capture and translocation.