Connecting the Dots: A Vision for Persian Leopard Conservation from the Caucasus to Central Asia

When and Where

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:10 pm to 2:00 pm


Tatjana Rosen, Writer, National Geographic Explorer, Cat Conservationist in Central Asia

Abstract: Persian leopards were once distributed across the whole Caucasus region, Iranian and Anatolian Plateaus and Central Asia. They inhabit rugged and hard-to-access terrain and, because of their shy nature, they tend to be difficult to observe and thus to study. Unfortunately, these traits make them also more vulnerable to declines, as the threats they face can often go undetected. Persian leopards are poached and trapped without much notice. Across many parts of their range, the leopard prey is subject to intense poaching, affecting the leopards and causing them to silently disappear. Iran harbour the largest population of Persian leopards followed by Turkmenistan. Across their range, they navigate a landscape that is politically also very challenging. Iran-Iraq tensions. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Armenia-Azerbaijan. Turkmenistan and its closed nature. Ongoing insecurity in Afghanistan. Iran and its conservationists suffering because of US sanctions and politics. Physically, border fences and landmines make the travels across countries of the Persian leopard daunting. And yet, the Persian leopard, shows up in impossible places, like for the first time, in 2018 camera trapped in Kazakhstan, near the border with Turkmenistan. Trend data is however missing and therefore, it is at the moment unknown whether the population in Turkmenistan is stable or declining. The endangered status of the Persian leopard, including its resilience against many odds, have inspired the push to list the species under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Central Asian Mammals Initiative and initiate a series of discussions to develop a Regional Strategy for the conservation of the Persian leopard in the long-term. This talk will explore the history of Persian leopard conservation, the stakeholders involved, the politics and the challenges as well as highlight the hope that its conservation can be a means to securing greater peace and dialogue in the region.

Brief Bio: Tatjana Rosen is a wildlife conservationist normally based in Central Asia. She holds degrees in international law and wildlife ecology from the Universita’ Statale di Milano, Harvard Law School and Yale University. After working as an international lawyer for 7 years she transitioned to wildlife conservation, working on wolves and brown bears in the Yellowstone and snow leopards and Persian leopards in Central Asia. Currently she is technical advisor for the UNEP Vanishing Treasures project in Kyrgyzstan (focused on snow leopards) and lead of the Team Bars Turkmenistan, focused on the conservation of Persian leopards.

Location: ONLINE. To register for this event, please open the Eventbrite page.