Leopard (Panthera pardus) - one of the species of the cat family of the order of predatory mammals, which has a vast range that covers a significant part of Africa and Asia. A significant number of intraspecific forms of the leopard have been described. Leopards living in Southwest Asia belong to the subspecies endemic for this territory, the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana).
The historical range (until the beginning of the 19th century) of the Persian leopard in South-West Asia was very extensive, however, in the 19th-20th centuries, there was a rapid reduction in the range and number of the leopard due to poaching, anthropogenic degradation of habitats and a reduction in food supply. The modern range of the Persian leopard is highly fragmented, within its boundaries there are 21 populations, the largest of which live in Iran (from 550 to 850 individuals) and Turkmenistan (up to 100 individuals). The total number of the subspecies probably does not exceed 1000-1300 specimens.
According to the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Persian leopard is classified as Endangered - “endangered” - and is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Persian leopard is protected in all countries where it lives and is listed in the Red Books of a number of states neighboring Kazakhstan: the Russian Federation (2021), Turkmenistan (2011) and Uzbekistan (2009).
Until the end of the 20th century, the leopard had never been recorded by specialists for the territory of Kazakhstan before. However, over the past decades, at least 4 entries of leopards into the territory of the Mangistau region from neighboring Turkmenistan have been documented, which became the basis for including the Persian leopard in the Red Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2021.
In 2020, specialists prepared and submitted to the Government the Action Plan for the Persian leopard in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2021-2025. To get acquainted with this document and get more detailed information about the Persian leopard and the problems of its conservation in Kazakhstan, please follow the link: Russian version of the PDF file
The goals and objectives set out in the Action Plan (2020) actually formed the basis of an international project to study and protect the leopard in Kazakhstan, which started in 2023.
Co-authors: Mark Pestov, Vladimir Terentiev