One of the oldest questions among experts and biologists in Iran is the size of the country’s leopard population, so the Project is putting in a lot of effort on the ground to determine the size and structure of the leopard population in Tandoureh National Park. However, working in the tough mountains of Tandoureh is not easy, particularly during the hot summer months when there are only scattered water resources to provide water for wildlife as well as for the Project team.
With the close cooperation of the area’s rangers, we planned such a challenging task to be implemented during the summer of 2016. Twenty rangers were involved in the effort and learned how to work with PantheraCams, user-friendly camera traps optimized for monitoring wild felids kindly donated by Panthera.* A total of 75 locations throughout the National Park will be monitored using the cameras until August. Water resources are the preferred locations for equipping with camera traps, but the choice of sites is also subject to security considerations as well as accessibility. Currently, a commonly held view among experts is that there are fewer than 15 leopards in the park – in contrast to local rangers, who believe the population is more like 35 to 55. Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting venture.
*Panthera is a New York-based charitable organization dedicated to the conservation of wild cats and their ecosystems around the world. Website: www.panthera.org