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Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus)

The Persian leopard, Panthera pardus, is a secretive, solitary large cat occurring throughout Africa, central Asia, southeast Asia, and northern areas of Russia to Amur Valley. The species is difficult to study, especially subspecies occurring throughout the high mountain ranges of Asia. The leopard is one of the more adaptable cat species, occurring in a variety of habitats including deserts, semi-deserts, rainforests, and high mountain ecosystems.

Persian Leopard
A study from west Asia (Khorozyan et al. 2005) noted prime leopard habitat consisted of sparse juniper forests, arid and mountain grasslands, and subalpine and alpine meadows. Scientists estimate no more than 1,300 leopards exist in south and central Asia and no population in the region is thought to number more than 100 individuals. Major threats to the leopard in central and south Asia are hunting for carnivore control, fur trade, and livestock protection, declines in prey species, and habitat loss and fragmentation.
In Afghanistan, Persian leopard pelts are sold in local markets for up to $1,000. However, anyone wishing to transport any portion of a Persian leopard internationally requires a CITES permit. This species is also protected in Afghanistan, meaning that all hunting and trade in this species is illegal.
The color of a Persian leopard may range from pale yellow to deep gold or tawny. Asian subspecies, like the Amur leopard, can sometimes be mistaken for the snow leopard because they develop a long-haired, cream-colored coat during winter months. Leopards have black rosettes that are generally darker than those found on the snow leopard, but they may vary in intensity depending on geographical location.


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Heidi Kretser, Ph.D.
Wildlife Conservation Society 7 Brandy Brook Ave Saranac Lake, NY 12983 USA
518 891-8872 ext 105