ICS conservationists are working in remote and inaccessible areas of Iran to save some of the world’s most spectacular and imperilled wildlife. Against all the odds, and in the face of an international banking embargo, ICS is making ground breaking scientific discoveries and raising local awareness of conservation.
WLT is providing assistance by receiving funds donated via an online fundraising page set up by ICS.
Donations will be used to purchase vital equipment such as camera traps which are needed to support wildlife monitoring and to help local communities and game wardens put conservation into practice.
The deserts of central Iran are territory for Asiatic Cheetah, the rolling mountains of western Iran are home to Brown Bears and Grey Wolves, and the high altitudes of northern Iran shelter Persian Leopards. ICS’s aim is to ensure a long-term future for these and lesser carnivores and their ecosystems.
Big cat study
In 2002, ICS launched a long-term study of the Asiatic Cheetah, one of the world’s least researched big cats. The programme focuses on arid areas of Iran where cheetahs are found. By recording cheetahs with remote cameras, ICS is able to monitor cheetah populations, track migration and assess survival rates.
ICS is carrying out a similar study of the Persian Leopard across a variety of habitats, using camera-traps to collect population data. In some parts of Iran leopards are in direct conflict with communities, so ICS is gathering and analysing faecal samples to identify intensity of conflict with livestock owners.
Studies have also been carried out to establish the genetic diversity of Persian Leopards in Iran, as a preliminary to possible translocation projects to countries within their historical range in west Asia.
ICS works with local people in Iran to give them the skills to be able to accurately identify carnivores. For example, in the past, cheetahs were killed because people were afraid of them and considered them a threat to their livestock or even to themselves.
Thanks to ICS, community-based activities in Iran in recent years have reduced the persecution of cheetahs. Programmes to raise conservation awareness include wildlife theatre, documentary films and animation.