One of Iraq’s most endangered leopards had its hind limb cut off after a trap-inflicted injury, an AFP photographer said.
(Photo : Getty Images)
How the Leopard was Caught
According to the reports, the Persian leopard had hurt two persons before it was captured in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region near the Turkish border, according to Phys.org.
Before they realised a leopard was targeting their herds, residents of a hamlet near Zakho lost roughly 20 sheep, he added.
Even though the huge cat was wounded in its back leg by a shepherd’s trap, it was able to flee before the locals could assist police in locating it.
According to Colonel Jamal Saado, commander of the environmental protection police in Dohuk province, the leopard was sedated before being caught.
He added that similar events had taken placr in the region before. An animal of the same subspecies was discovered dead in a town of Dohuk province a few years ago in Arbil province.
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Persian Leopard Listed as Endangered
Persian leopards are among panther sub-species endemic to Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and the Caucasus.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified them as “endangered“. The natural population is estimated to be less than 1,000, with a further 200 in captivity.
Dohuk Zoo veterinarian Soleiman Tamr performed the amputation on Friday. He estimated the animal’s weight to be between 90 and 100 kg (200-220 pounds).
According to the vet, who is also the president of an animal protection organisation in Iraqi Kurdistan, he stated that the animal will observe it for a long period. As long as the animal can’t be reintroduced to the wild, it will dwell at the zoo, he added.
(Photo : Getty Images)
With its rugged snow-capped peaks receding into an old oak forest, Pirmagrun mountain in Iraqi Kurdistan is one of just a handful of places in the world where the endangered Persian leopard may be found, towering above the surrounding landscape in Iraqi Kurdistan.
As recently as the 1980s, the mountain, also known as Birah Magrun, and the surrounding region were covered in forest, and leopard sightings were regular. Illegal logging has reduced the forest to a bleak wasteland punctuated by tree stumps and grazed by herds of goats halfway down the hillside.
According to Hana Raza, a scientist with the conservation group Nature Iraq who has been tracking the Persian leopard’s population for more than a decade, he said that rapid habitat degradation is endangering the species’ very survival in Iraq.
According to UN and Kurdistan regional government assessments conducted between 1999 and 2018, approximately half of Iraqi Kurdistan’s woods – more than 890,000 hectares (2.2 million acres) – were lost, largely by logging and forest fires.
As if this weren’t bad enough, Iraq’s woodlands are home to the severely endangered Caucasian oak, one of four varieties of oak found in Kurdistan’s highlands.
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