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Iran: Endangered leopard shot dead, brown bear beaten to death

A leopard was shot dead in the northern Iranian of city Qaem Shahr after attacking and injuring a policeman.

April 25, 2022 at 1:28 pm

A leopard was shot dead in the northern Iranian of city Qaem Shahr yesterday after attacking and injuring a policeman.

According to state-run IRNA, the leopard was stranded on the front side of an apartment building above a bank.

The animal “attacked and injured a policeman before fleeing towards a garden,” the environment protection spokesman of Mazandaran province, Kamyar Valipur, told the news agency.

“The health situation of the policeman is stable,” he added.

Moslem Ahangari, the head of the province’s Environmental Protection Unit, said that the big cat “was killed by two bullets to save the life of the police officer”.

After being shot, the environmental authorities tranquilised the animal and transferred it to a nearby wildlife centre, but were unable to save it.

In a video circulated on social media, the panicked leopard can be seen jumping to the ground and trying to escape, causing bystanders to flee in terror.

The environment department is currently looking to establish whether the animal entered the city from the wild, or was being illegally kept as a pet.

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The Persian Leopard, also known as the Caucasian Leopard, is the largest of the leopard subspecies and is native to Iran, Turkey, parts of Central Asia and the Caucasus and is the region’s apex predator. With a population of less than 1,000, it was listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2016.

Separately, yesterday an endangered brown bear was beaten to death by villagers in the town of Namin, in the north-western province of Ardabil.

According to IRNA, “The villagers restrained the animal,” adding that they “resorted to inappropriate methods and behaviours by chasing, beating and injuring it.”

The news agency stated that the villagers used “tools such as a tractor” to restrain the bear, causing “serious damage to the animal including breaking its leg, pelvis and damaging its spine.

An image taken at the scene showed the bear tied around its neck to a digging machine, while the heavy wheels of a farm tractor appear to have been used to pin the animal’s back legs to the ground.

In addition to brown bears, Iran is also home to Asiatic black bears, also known as moon bears, they are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Iran’s Hamshahri daily newspaper reported a recent uptick in wild animal sightings in urban areas in the country, including the sighting of a bear in the southern town of Marvdasht and a wolf attack on two elderly women in Khalkhal, northwestern Iran.

READ: The struggle to save Iraq’s last Persian leopards