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Caucasian Leopard Conservation Programme in the South Caucasus

The Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana) also known as Persian Leopard, is a powerful and majestic symbol of wilderness. It is the world's largest leopard subspecies and is identified a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List. 

During the development of the Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus (ECP), experts identified the Caucasian Leopard as a focal species for conservation efforts. This was due to the multiple threats and pressures the species faces, but also because the Leopard is an umbrella species–meaning many other species benefit from the conservation and protection of its landscapes–and because the Leopard is a charismatic species, and a symbol for the conservation of multiple habitats and species. 
Our ongoing Leopard Conservation Programme employs innovative approaches to support the long-term re-establishment of Leopard populations in the Caucasus by focusing our efforts on target areas of Armenia and Azerbaijan, specifically the southeastern part of the Lesser Caucasus and Talysh mountains. This includes the establishment of a Leopard caretaker networks involving local volunteers and also a feasibility study for compensation and prevention mechanisms to reduce human-leopard conflicts. Since the programme started, we have observed an increase in Leopard sightings in the target areas, and have successfully supported the stabilization of prey species populations, including the Bezoar Goat (Capra aegagrus), and Mouflon (Ovis orientalis), both globally threatened species. 
The positive results of our Leopard Conservation Programme are encouraging, but the population of Caucasian Leopard is still too small and fragmented to secure its long-term survival. WWF-Caucasus continues to work with local communities and experts to support the survival of this magnificent animal and the habitat it depends on.