Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Return of the Persian leopard In Afghanistan's central highlands

Date:
December 5, 2011
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
Recent camera trap images from the rocky terrain of Afghanistan's central highlands have revealed a surprise: A Persian leopard, an apex predator long thought to have disappeared from the region, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Using camera trap surveys to collect data on the wildlife of Afghanistan’s central highlands, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society have made a surprise discovery: a Persian leopard, thought to have been extirpated from the region.
Credit: WCS Afghanistan Program

Recent camera trap images from the rocky terrain of Afghanistan's central highlands have revealed a surprise: a Persian leopard, an apex predator long thought to have disappeared from the region, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

In a series of images that provides indisputable proof that the big cat persists in the country's interior, a big adult leopard can be seen prowling around the camera trap's field of view and investigating the camera itself, appearing to threaten it with canines exposed.

The camera traps captured dozens of images of other wildlife species, including lynx, wild cat, wolf, red fox, and stone marten, an impressive suite of predators still surviving in the Hindu Kush highlands, where Wildlife Conservation Society scientists and Afghan rangers have been conducting surveys in recent months.

"To see such a varied array of wildlife after we have endured so much conflict gives us hope for Afghanistan's future," said Mostapha Zaher, Director General of Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency. "Intact ecosystems represent a foundation for our country's reconstruction and development. This is also our heritage, our natural resources, our fauna and flora. It is incumbent upon all of us to conserve and protect our environment and hand it over to the next generation of the citizens of Afghanistan."

Camera traps give conservationists a valuable research tool in remote wildlife areas. In addition to providing a cross-section of an ecosystem in terms of the presence and absence of wildlife, the devices record data that, in sufficient quantities and placement, can be used to generate population estimates for individual species.

"The presence of leopards and lynxes in Afghanistan tells us that these big cats are finding enough prey to survive," said Ghani Ghuriani, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. "This means that the rangelands can still support ibex, urial, and other species, which is a good sign for both wildlife and the people of this region who also depend on these grasslands for grazing."

Peter Zahler, Deputy Director of WCS's Asia Program, said: "We are thrilled by these images and the story of survival that they tell, but we were sobered by the fact that the cameras also took photographs of local people walking past with guns. Poaching is still a very real threat, and WCS is committed to helping the Afghan government and local communities protect these rare and beautiful animals."

With the assistance of WCS and in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the government of Afghanistan has launched several initiatives to safeguard the country's wild places and the wildlife they contain. This includes the creation of the country's first and only national park, Band-e-Amir, in 2009, which is co-managed by local villagers and the government. The park provides jobs and revenue from the thousands of tourists who visit each week during the summer months. WCS worked with Afghanistan's National Environment Protection Agency to create the country's first-ever list of protected species, which prohibits the hunting of snow leopards, brown bears, and other wildlife. WCS provides educational workshops for soldiers at Bagram Air Base and other military bases across Afghanistan in an effort to limit illegal wildlife trade in the country that threatens leopards and other fur-bearing animals.

With USAID support, WCS has worked with the Afghan government, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), and others to craft new environmental laws and regulations and train government officials in their application. WCS works directly with more than 55 local communities in Afghanistan to better manage their natural resources. WCS staff train and deploy community rangers to monitor wildlife, and patrol the region to stop poaching and enforce the new environmental laws.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Return of the Persian leopard In Afghanistan's central highlands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205140519.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2011, December 5). Return of the Persian leopard In Afghanistan's central highlands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205140519.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Return of the Persian leopard In Afghanistan's central highlands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205140519.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins