Saman Golriz, a well-known Iranian chef who has taught Persian cuisine on national TV for the past 21 years, visited the Project in Tandoureh National Park. On arriving in the park he was more than lucky to encounter the adult leopard Borna, who once carried a GPS collar. The leopard, found with a spotlight at 10 pm, calmly walked away from our vehicle and crouched on nearby outcrops for nearly an hour, affording Saman a rare sighting of a Persian leopard in the wild.
In the company of our ranger partners, he was also taken on a long daytime drive through the park and observed multiple species, such urial sheep, ibex, lammergeyer, griffon vulture, wild cat, stone marten and common fox, making his short stay very productive and memorable. Following his field visit, a meeting was arranged with the governor of nearby Dargaz town to discuss how he could contribute to leopard conservation in the area. Saman also attended a thank you ceremony for the rangers held to acknowledge their contribution to the Project during the past three years. We are grateful to him for deciding to pledge support for leopard conservation in Tandoureh, an area that is critically important for safeguarding the future of these magnificent big cats in the Kopet Dagh region along the Iran–Turkmenistan borderland.